Heuristic approaches for a scheduling problem in the plastic molding department of an audio company

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-540
Journal / PublicationJournal of Heuristics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2002


A production scheduling problem for making plastic molds of hi-fi models is considered. The objective is to minimize the total machine makespan in the presence of due dates, variable lot size, multiple machine types, sequence dependent, machine dependent setup times, and inventory limits. Goal programming and load balancing are applied to select the set of machine types and assign mold types to machines, resulting in a set of single-machine scheduling problems. A mixed-integer program (MIP) is formulated for the general problem but could solve only small instances. A single-machine scheduling heuristic is designed to adopt a production sequence from a travelling salesman solution. The start time of every cycle is determined by a simplified MIP. Production cycles are defined to equalize the stockout times of mold types. A post-processing step reduces the number of setups in the last cycle. Results using real-life data are promising. Characteristics giving rise to high machine utilization are discussed.

Research Area(s)

  • Due dates, Inventory limits, Lot sizing, Machine dependent and sequence dependent setup times, Makespan