Analytical models to evaluate system performance measures for vehicle based material-handling systems under various dispatching policies



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Texas A&M University


Queueing network-based approximation models were developed to evaluate the performance of fixed-route material-handling systems supporting a multiple workcenter manufacturing facility. In this research, we develop analytical models for fixed-route material-handling systems from two different perspectives: the workcenters?? point of view and the transporters?? point of view. The state-dependent nature of the transportation time is considered here for more accurate analytical approximation models for material-handling systems. Also, an analytical methodology is developed for analytical descriptions of the impact of several different vehicledispatching policies for material-handling systems. Two different types of vehicledispatching policies are considered. Those are workcenter-initiated vehicle dispatching rules and vehicle-initiated vehicle dispatching rules. For the workcenterinitiated vehicle dispatching rule, the Closest Transporter Allocation Rule (CTAR) was used to assign empty transporters to jobs needing to be moved between various workcenters. On the other hand, four different vehicle-initiated vehicle dispatching rules, Shortest Distance Dispatching Rule (SDR), Time Limit/Shortest DistanceDispatching Rule (TL/SDR), First-Come First-Serve Dispatching Rule (FCFSR), Longest Distance Dispatching Rule (LDR), are used to select job requests from workcenters when a transporter is available. From the models with a queue space limit of one at each workcenter and one transporter, two different types of extensions are considered. First, the queue space limit at each workcenter is increased from one to two while the number of transporters remains at one. Second, the number of transporters in the system is also increased from one to two while maintaining the queue space limit of one at each workcenter. Finally, using a simulation approach, we modified the Nearest Neighbor (NN) heuristic dispatching procedure for multi-load transporters proposed by Tanchoco and Co (1994) and tested for a fixed-route material-handling system. The effects of our modified NN and the original NN transporter dispatching procedures on the system performance measures, such as WIP or Cycle Time were investigated and we demonstrated that the modified NN heuristic dispatching procedure performs better than the original NN procedure in terms of these system performance measures.