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This paper describes primary production scheduling in the steel industry—the problem and the approaches to the solution. The scheduling problem in steel plants is known to be among the most difficult of several industrial scheduling problems. We first describe the main steelmaking processes and show how scheduling affects the effectiveness of plant operations. We characterize the problems associated with scheduling steelmaking activities to achieve business objectives of delivering quality steel on time to customers, while minimizing operating costs. We then describe several different approaches for computerized scheduling solutions. They include application of techniques in operations research, artificial intelligence, and a hybrid of these two. We conclude by describing advanced techniques for integrated scheduling of steel plants.
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