The problem addressed in this paper is the tool switching problem for an automated manufacturing environment, when each tool may occupy more than one slot of the tool magazine. A machine processes parts automatically by using a limited capacity tool magazine. Providing a tool that is needed for a certain processing operation is not in the magazine, a tool switch must occur before the job can be processed, a time/cost consuming operation. To solve this problem, one has to decide three types of decisions, namely, how to select the jobs' sequence (machine loading), which tools to switch before each processing operation (tool loading) and where to locate each tool in the magazine (slot loading). We present an integer programming formulation for the problem and suggest a heuristic procedure to obtain a solution. Our heuristic is partly a generalization of previously suggested approaches to the first two decision types, but it is mainly oriented towards answering the third decision type. The unified problem has not been addressed previously in the literature. We present a numerical study that demonstrates the efficiency of our procedure.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||IIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)|
|State||Published - Feb 2004|