This paper addresses a three-machine assembly-type flowshop scheduling problem, which frequently arises from manufacturing process management as well as from supply chain management. Machines one and two are arranged in parallel for producing component parts individually, and machine three is an assembly line arranged as the second stage of a flowshop for processing the component parts in batches. Whenever a batch is formed on the second-stage machine, a constant setup time is required. The objective is to minimize the makespan. In this study we establish the strong NP-hardness of the problem for the case where all the jobs have the same processing time on the second-stage machine. We then explore a useful property, based upon which a special case can be optimally solved in polynomial time. We also study several heuristic algorithms to generate quality approximate solutions for the general problem. Computational experiments are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the algorithms.
- Batch scheduling
- Two-stage flowshop