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New publication: The Buffer Allocation Problem in production lines: Formulations, solution methods, and instances

Flow production lines with finite buffer capacities are used in practice for mass production, e.g., in the automotive and food industries. The decision regarding the allocation of buffer capacities to mitigate throughput losses from stochastic processing times and unreliable stations is known as the Buffer Allocation Problem (BAP).

This paper classifies and reviews the literature on the BAP with respect to different versions of the optimization problem. It considers the detailed characteristics of the flow lines, the objective function, and the constraints. Moreover, a new classification scheme for solution methods is presented that differentiates between explicit solutions, integrated optimization methods, and iterative optimization methods. The characteristics of test instances derived from realistic cases and test instances used in multiple references are discussed.

The review reveals gaps in the literature regarding the considered optimization problems and solution methods, especially with a view on realistic lines. In addition, a library, “FlowLineLib”of realistic and already used test instances is provided.

The article is published as: Weiss, S., J. A. Schwarz, and R. Stolletz (2018): The Buffer Allocation Problem in production lines: Formulations, solution methods, and instances. Forthcoming in IISE Transactions.

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