Uncertainty Management by Relaxation of Conflicting Constraints in Production Scheduling

Jurgen Dorn, Wolfgang Slany, and Christian Stary

Mathematical-analytical methods as used in Operations Research approaches are often insufficient for scheduling problems. This is due to three reasons: The combinatorial complexity of the search space, conflicting objectives for production optimization, and the uncertainty in the production process. Knowledgebased techniques, especially approximate reasoning and constraint relaxation, are promising ways to overcome these problems. A case study from an industrial CIM environment, namely high-grade steel production, is presented to demonstrate how knowledge-based scheduling with the desired capabilities could work. By using fuzzy set theory, the applied knowledge representation technique covers the uncertainty inherent in the problem domain. Based on this knowledge representation, a classification of jobs according to their importance is defined which is then used for the straightforward generation of a schedule. A control strategy which comprises organizational, spatial, temporal, and chemical constraints is introduced. The strategy supports the dynamic relaxation of conflicting constraints in order to improve tentative schedules.

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