Allocating Fibers in Cable Manufacturing
We study the problem of allocating stocked fibers to made-to-order cables with the goals of satisfying due dates and reducing the costs of scrap, setup, and fiber circulation. These goals are achieved by generating remnant fibers either long enough to satisfy future orders or short enough to scrap with little waste. They are also achieved by manufacturing concatenations, in which multiple cable orders are satisfied by the production of a single cable that is afterwards cut into the constituent cables ordered. We use a function that values fibers according to length, and which can be viewed as an approximation to the optimal value function of an underlying dynamic programming problem. The daily policy that arises under this approximation is an integer program with a simple linear objective function that uses changes in fiber value to take into account the multi-period consequences of decisions. We describe our successful implementation of this integer program in the factory, summarizing our computational experience as well as realized operational improvements.
Volume (Year): 1 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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