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The tools transporter movements problem in flexible manufacturing sysems

Kılınç, Fatma
In this study, we address job sequencing and tool switching problem arising in Flexible Manufacturing Systems. We consider a single machine with limited tool slots on its tool magazine. The available tool slots cannot accommodate all the tools required by all jobs, therefore tool switches between jobs are required. A single tool transporter with limited capacity is used in transporting the tools from the storage area to the machine. Our aim is to minimize the number of tool transporter movements. We provide two mixed integer linear programming formulations of the problem, one of which is based on the traveling salesman problem. We develop a Branch-and-Bound algorithm powered with various lower and upper bounding techniques for optimal results. In order to obtain good solutions in reasonable times, we propose Beam Search algorithms. Our computational results reveal the satisfactory performance of the B&B algorithm for moderate sized problems. Moreover, Beam Search techniques perform well for large-sized problems.