Autonomous Finite Capacity Scheduling using Biological Control Principles




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


The vast majority of the research efforts in finite capacity scheduling over the past several years has focused on the generation of precise and almost exact measures for the working schedule presupposing complete information and a deterministic environment. During execution, however, production may be the subject of considerable variability, which may lead to frequent schedule interruptions. Production scheduling mechanisms are developed based on centralised control architecture in which all of the knowledge base and databases are modelled at the same location. This control architecture has difficulty in handling complex manufacturing systems that require knowledge and data at different locations. Adopting biological control principles refers to the process where a schedule is developed prior to the start of the processing after considering all the parameters involved at a resource involved and updated accordingly as the process executes. This research reviews the best practices in gene transcription and translation control methods and adopts these principles in the development of an autonomous finite capacity scheduling control logic aimed at reducing excessive use of manual input in planning tasks. With autonomous decision-making functionality, finite capacity scheduling will as much as practicably possible be able to respond autonomously to schedule disruptions by deployment of proactive scheduling procedures that may be used to revise or re-optimize the schedule when unexpected events occur. The novelty of this work is the ability of production resources to autonomously take decisions and the same way decisions are taken by autonomous entities in the process of gene transcription and translation. The idea has been implemented by the integration of simulation and modelling techniques with Taguchi analysis to investigate the contributions of finite capacity scheduling factors, and determination of the ‘what if’ scenarios encountered due to the existence of variability in production processes. The control logic adopts the induction rules as used in gene expression control mechanisms, studied in biological systems. Scheduling factors are identified to that effect and are investigated to find their effects on selected performance measurements for each resource in used. How they are used to deal with variability in the process is one major objective for this research as it is because of the variability that autonomous decision making becomes of interest. Although different scheduling techniques have been applied and are successful in production planning and control, the results obtained from the inclusion of the autonomous finite capacity scheduling control logic has proved that significant improvement can still be achieved.



discrete event simulation, finite capacity sheduling, autonomous operations planing



Research Institute