Scheduling in robotic cells: process flexibility and cell layout
International Journal of Production Research
Taylor & Francis
2105 - 2121
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The focus of this study is the identical parts robotic cell scheduling problem with m machines under the assumption of process and operational flexibility. A direct consequence of this assumption is a new robot move cycle that has been overlooked in the existing literature. We prove that this new cycle dominates all classical robot move cycles considered in the literature for m = 2. We also prove that changing the layout from an in-line robotic cell to a robot-centered cell reduces the cycle time of the proposed cycle even further, whereas the cycle times of all other cycles remain the same. For the m-machine case, we find the regions where the proposed cycle dominates the classical robot move cycles, and for the remaining regions present its worst case performance with respect to classical robot move cycles. Considering the number of machines as a decision variable, we also find the optimal number of machines that minimizes the cycle time of the proposed cycle.