Improving Manufacturing Systems Using Integrated Discrete Event Simulation and Evolutionary Algorithms




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


High variety and low volume manufacturing environment always been a challenge for organisations to maintain their overall performance especially because of the high level of variability induced by ever changing customer demand, high product variety, cycle times, routings and machine failures. All these factors consequences poor flow and degrade the overall organisational performance. For most of the organisations, therefore, process improvement has evidently become the core component for long term survival. The aim of this research here is to develop a methodology for automating operations in process improvement as a part of lean creative problem solving process. To achieve the stated aim, research here has investigated the job sequence and buffer management problem in high variety/low volume manufacturing environment, where lead time and total inventory holding cost are used as operational performance measures. The research here has introduced a novel approach through integration of genetic algorithms based multi-objective combinatorial optimisation and discrete event simulation modelling tool to investigate the effect of variability in high variety/low volume manufacturing by considering the effect of improvement of selected performance measures on each other. Also, proposed methodology works in an iterative manner and allows incorporating changes in different levels of variability. The proposed framework improves over exiting buffer management methodologies, for instance, overcoming the failure modes of drum-buffer-rope system and bringing in the aspect of automation. Also, integration of multi-objective combinatorial optimisation with discrete event simulation allows problem solvers and decision makers to select the solution according to the trade-off between selected performance measures.



Manufacturing Systems, Process Improvement, Combinatorial Optimisation, Job Sequencing, Buffer Sizing, Drum-Buffer-Rope



Research Institute