Scheduling in flexible robotic manufacturing cells
The focus of this thesis is the scheduling problems arising in robotic cells which consist of a number of machines and a material handling robot. The machines used in such systems for metal cutting industries are highly flexible CNC machines. Although flexibility is the key term that affects the performance of these systems, the current literature ignores this. As a consequence, the problems considered in the current literature are either too limiting or the provided solutions are suboptimal for the flexible systems. This thesis analyzes different robotic cell configurations with different sources of flexibility. This study is the first one to consider operation allocation problems and controllable processing times as well as some design problems and bicriteria models in the context of robotic cell scheduling. Also, a new class of robot move cycles is defined, which is overlooked in the existing literature. Optimal solutions are provided for solvable cases, whereas complexity analyses and efficient heuristic algorithms are provided for the remaining problems.