An integer linear programming approach and a hybrid variable neighborhood search for the car sequencing problem
In this paper we present two major approaches to solve the car sequencing problem, in which the goal is to find an optimal arrangement of commissioned vehicles along a production line with respect to constraints of the form "no more than lc cars are allowed to require a component c in any subsequence of mc consecutive cars". The first method is an exact one based on integer linear programming (ILP). The second approach is hybrid: it uses ILP techniques within a general variable neighborhood search (VNS) framework for examining large neighborhoods. We tested the two methods on benchmark instances provided by CSPLIB and the automobile manufacturer RENAULT for the ROADEF Challenge 2005. These tests reveal that our approaches are competitive to previous reported algorithms. For the CSPLIB instances we were able to shorten the required computation time for reaching and proving optimality. Furthermore, we were able to obtain tight bounds on some of the ROADEF instances. For two of these instances the proposed ILP-method could provide new optimality proofs for already known solutions. For the VNS, the individual contributions of the used neighborhoods are also experimentally analyzed. Results highlight the significant impact of each structure. In particular the large ones examined using ILP techniques enhance the overall performance significantly, so that the hybrid approach clearly outperforms variants including only commonly defined neighborhoods.
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