Increase output through smart software

  • Graduation Assignment
  • Rijssen

Website SteelGroup Voortman Steel Group

An existing production line that performs a diverse set of operations on products can achieve a higher output in the day-to-day business by optimally using  resources on the line. Two ways to achieve this are:

  • Smarter routing, which uses the chosen route through the line to achieve a higher throughput.
  • Smarter dispatching of jobs with which the expected output (and thus the input and the set of operations) makes more ‘balanced’ use of the available machines.

Smarter routing is already a project that we’re actively working on.: At the moment, Voortman lines use heuristics to determine possible routes at stations. These heuristics are applied locally: at a certain point in the line, the optimal choice is made with a set of rules to choose a certain follow-up route at that specific point without (or with very limited) knowledge of the choices to be made on further points on the line where these choices must be made. This leads to locally optimized routes. To improve this, models are being developed to determine by means of a global model that works toward a global optimum.

This assignment focuses on smarter dispatching: minimizing lead time for a given set of jobs (a batch) for a given line by the order of dispatching these jobs. We want to be able to help our customers to improve output on existing lines as well as production lines that are yet to be delivered. This means that the resulting model should be compatible with the heuristics we use at the moment but also (if possible) with the globally optimized routing models we are developing. The result of the assignment should be a set of rules that can be applied to the order of jobs of a given batch that customers can use to minimize lead time.

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