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- A generalized job-shop problem with more than one resource demand per task (2011)
- We study a generalized job-shop problem called the Laser Sharing Problem with fixed tours (LSP-T) where the tasks may need more than one resource simultaneously. This fact will be used to model possible collisions between industrial robots. For three robots we will show that the special case where only one resource is used by more than one robot is already NP-hard. This also implies that one machine scheduling with chained min delay precedence constraints is NP-hard for at least three chains. On the positive side, we present a polynomial algorithm for the two robot case and a pseudo-polynomial algorithm together with an FPTAS for an arbitrary but constant number of robots. This gives a sharp boundary of the complexity status for a constant number of robots.
- On the benefits of using NP-hard problems in Branch & Bound (2008)
- We present a Brand-and-Bound (B&B) method using combinatorial bounds for solving makespan minimization problems with sequence dependent setup costs. As an application we present a laser source sharing problem arising in car manufacturing.
- How to avoid collisions in scheduling industrial robots? (2010)
- In modern production facilities industrial robots play an important role. When two ore more of them are moving in the same area, care must be taken to avoid collisions between them. Due to expensive equipment costs our approach to handle this is very conservative: Each critical area is modeled as a shared resource where only one robot is allowed to use it at a time. We studied collision avoidance in the context of arc welding robots in car manufacture industry. Here another shared resource comes into place. When using laser welding technology every robot needs to be connected to a laser source supplying it with the necessary energy. Each laser source can be connected to up to six robots but serve only one at a time. An instance of the problem consists of a set of robots, a set of welding task, a number of laser sources, a distance table, collision information and a production cycle time. The goal is to design robot tours covering all task and schedule them resource conflict free such that the makespan does not exceed the cycle time. We propose a general model for integrated routing and scheduling including collision avoidance as well as a branch-and-bound algorithm for it. Computational results on data generated with the robot simulation software KuKa Sim Pro are also provided showing that our algorithm outperforms standard mixed-integer models for our application.
- Exploiting combinatorial relaxations to solve a routing & scheduling problem in car body manufacturing (2010)
- Motivated by the laser sharing problem (LSP) in car body manufacturing, we define the new general routing and scheduling problem (RSP). In the RSP, multiple servers have to visit and process jobs; renewable resources are shared among them. The goal is to find a makespan-minimal scheduled dispatch. We present complexity results as well as a branch-and-bound algorithm for the RSP. This is the first algorithm that is able to solve the LSP for industrially relevant problem scales.