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Optimum Allocation of Inspection Stations in Multistage Manufacturing Processes by Using Max-Min Ant System

SHETWAN, ALI,GASSIM,M. (2013) Optimum Allocation of Inspection Stations in Multistage Manufacturing Processes by Using Max-Min Ant System. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In multistage manufacturing processes it is common to locate inspection stations after some or all of the processing workstations. The purpose of the inspection is to reduce the total manufacturing cost, resulted from unidentified defective items being processed unnecessarily through subsequent manufacturing operations. This total cost is the sum of the costs of production, inspection and failures (during production and after shipment). Introducing inspection stations into a serial multistage manufacturing process, although constituting an additional cost, is expected to be a profitable course of action. Specifically, at some positions the associated inspection costs will be recovered from the benefits realised through the detection of defective items, before wasting additional cost by continuing to process them.
In this research, a novel general cost modelling for allocating a limited number of inspection stations in serial multistage manufacturing processes is formulated. In allocation of inspection station (AOIS) problem, as the number of workstations increases, the number of inspection station allocation possibilities increases exponentially. To identify the appropriate approach for the AOIS problem, different optimisation methods are investigated. The MAX-MIN Ant System (MMAS) algorithm is proposed as a novel approach to explore AOIS in serial multistage manufacturing processes. MMAS is an ant colony optimisation algorithm that was designed originally to begin an explorative search phase and, subsequently, to make a slow transition to the intensive exploitation of the best solutions found during the search, by allowing only one ant to update the pheromone trails. Two novel heuristics information for the MMAS algorithm are created. The heuristic information for the MMAS algorithm is exploited as a novel means to guide ants to build reasonably good solutions from the very beginning of the search. To improve the performance of the MMAS algorithm, six local search methods which are well-known and suitable for the AOIS problem are used. Selecting relevant parameter values for the MMAS algorithm can have a great impact on the algorithm’s performance. As a result, a method for tuning the most influential parameter values for the MMAS algorithm is developed.
The contribution of this research is, for the first time, a methodology using MMAS to solve the AOIS problem in serial multistage manufacturing processes has been developed. The methodology takes into account the constraints on inspection resources, in terms of a limited number of inspection stations. As a result, the total manufacturing cost of a product can be reduced, while maintaining the quality of the product. Four numerical experiments are conducted to assess the MMAS algorithm for the AOIS problem. The performance of the MMAS algorithm is compared with a number of other methods this includes the complete enumeration method (CEM), rule of thumb, a pure random search algorithm, particle swarm optimisation, simulated annealing and genetic algorithm. The experimental results show that the effectiveness of the MMAS algorithm lies in its considerably shorter execution time and robustness. Further, in certain conditions results obtained by the MMAS algorithm are identical to the CEM. In addition, the results show that applying local search to the MMAS algorithm has significantly improved the performance of the algorithm. Also the results demonstrate that it is essential to use heuristic information with the MMAS algorithm for the AOIS problem, in order to obtain a high quality solution. It was found that the main parameters of MMAS include the pheromone trail intensity, heuristic information and evaporation of pheromone are less sensitive within the specified range as the number of workstations is significantly increased.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Optimum, Manufacturing, Allocation and Inspection
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of (2008-2017)
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 Jul 2013 11:58

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