A flexible manufacturing cell (FMC) has become of major interest recently as a new machining unit for low-volume, variety production. However, set-up operations for workpieces have not yet been automated in the usual FMC. In this paper, the design and scheduling problems for FMC with automatic set-up equipment are discussed. The FMC consists of a machining centre, an industrial robot, a loading-unloading station and an index-pallet changer. First, the design and control system of the FMC is explained. Then a scheduling algorithm is developed to achieve the minimum total production time in order to operate the FMC effectively. As this FMC has finite buffer spaces on the index-pallet changer, this model can be regarded as a two-machine flow-shop problem with finite buffer spaces. Next, an algorithm for determining the optimum number of buffer spaces is constructed to design the FMC using the results of scheduling. Finally, a numerical example is given for demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed algorithms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Strategy and Management
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering