Lot streaming with attached setups in three-machine flow shops

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Abstract

Lot streaming is the process of splitting a job or lot to allow overlapping between successive operations in a multistage production system. This use of transfer lots usually results in a significantly shorter makespan for the schedule. We study the structural properties of schedules which minimize the makespan for a single job with attached setup times in a flow shop. The structure of the optimal schedules is more complex than in the case with no setups or detached setups, as it may follow a much larger variety of patterns. Using the structural insights obtained, however, it is possible to find the optimal solution with s sublots in O(s) time for the three-machine case.

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