Title: An improved metaheuristic approach for solving the machine loading problem in flexible manufacturing systems

Authors: Sandhyarani Biswas, S.S. Mahapatra

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela-769008, India. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela-769008, India

Abstract: Production planning in Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMSs) requires several hierarchical issues to be resolved sequentially or simultaneously. Loading is one of the vital issues in FMS production planning. It deals with the assignment of the necessary operations and tools among various machines in an optimal manner to minimise system unbalance under technological constraints. Such a problem is combinatorial in nature and found to be NP-complete; thus, finding the exact solutions is computationally intractable for large-scale problems. Therefore, in this study, a metaheuristic approach based on Particle Swarm Optimisation (PSO) has been proposed to solve the machine loading problem. Mutation has been introduced in PSO in a novel way so that the trapping of solutions at local minima can be avoided. The comparative study of the proposed algorithm with existing methods for ten benchmark instances available in the literature suggests that the results obtained in the proposed algorithm are quite encouraging.

Keywords: flexible manufacturing systems; FMS loading; machine loading; particle swarm optimisation; PSO; mutation; system unbalance; metaheuristics; FMS production planning.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSOM.2009.021626

International Journal of Services and Operations Management, 2009 Vol.5 No.1, pp.76 - 93

Published online: 30 Nov 2008 *

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