Auction-based approach to resolve the scheduling problem in the steel making process
Kumar, Vikas and Kumar, Sashi and Chan, F.T.S. and Tiwari, M.K. (2006) Auction-based approach to resolve the scheduling problem in the steel making process. International Journal of Production Research, 44 (8). pp. 1503-1522. ISSN 1366-588X
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Steel production is an extremely complex process and determining coherent schedules for the wide variety of production steps in a dynamic environment, where disturbances frequently occur, is a challenging task. In the steel production process, the blast furnace continuously produces liquid iron, which is transformed into liquid steel in the melt shop. The majority of the molten steel passes through a continuous caster to form large steel slabs, which are rolled into coils in the hot strip mill. The scheduling system of these processes has very different objectives and constraints, and operates in an environment where there is a substantial quantity of real-time information concerning production failures and customer requests. The steel making process, which includes steel making followed by continuous casting, is generally the main bottleneck in steel production. Therefore, comprehensive scheduling of this process is critical to improve the quality and productivity of the entire production system. This paper addresses the scheduling problem in the steel making process. The methodology of winner determination using the combinatorial auction process is employed to solve the aforementioned problem. In the combinatorial auction, allowing bidding on a combination of assets offers a way of enhancing the efficiency of allocating the assets. In this paper, the scheduling problem in steel making has been formulated as a linear integer program to determine the scheduling sequence for different charges. Bids are then obtained for sequencing the charges. Next, a heuristic approach is used to evaluate the bids. The computational results show that our algorithm can obtain optimal or near-optimal solutions for combinatorial problems in a reasonable computation time. The proposed algorithm has been verified by a case study.
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