Project Aims

Poor production scheduling in large scale process industries such as steel mills, aluminum processing plants, etc., are responsible for a high proportion of non value adding waste in those industries in the form of excess inventories and lost sales due to late deliveries. Generic scheduling systems have had comparatively little success in solving this problem due to

Advances in object oriented programming techniques, with the associated concepts of extendible, re-usable objects and frameworks are starting to provide potential ways of overcoming the problems of configuring a generic scheduling system to specific industrial environments. Additional research on the specific problems of reactive scheduling, including the use of fuzzy temporal constraint representation to assess reasonable cut-off limits for the extent to which unexpected events will propagate down a schedule are likewise providing possibilities for developing scheduling systems that have a substantive capability for reaction to contingencies. Research on the representation, manipulation and combination of subjective preferences, combined with graphical methods of exploring multiple criteria trade-offs are allowing the possibility of more effective forms of user interface to the schedule.

Technical Objectives

To extend the existing framework with the following components:

To develop a generic simulation package with the following components:

To develop a prototype scheduling system with the framework for the specified scenario, and to compare this system

Project Results

The output of this project will be:

The scheduling framework and systems built with the framework are likely to result in a long term increase in the competitiveness of the industries which use it, particularly with regard to reduced throughput times, inventory reductions, and better customer due date performance.