Multiple-objective scheduling for the hierarchical control of flexible manufacturing systems

Ling Feng Tung, Li Lin, Rakesh Nagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents a hierarchical approach to scheduling flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) that pursues multiple performance objectives and considers the process flexibility of incorporating alternative process plans and resources for the required operations. The scheduling problem is solved at two levels: the shop level and the manufacturing system level. The shop level controller employs a combined priority index developed in this research to rank shop production orders in meeting multiple scheduling objectives. To overcome dimensional complexity and keep a low level of work-in-process inventory, the shop controller first selects up to three production orders with the highest ranking as candidates and generates all possible release sequences for them, with or without multitasking. These sequences are conveyed to the manufacturing system controller, who then performs detailed scheduling of the machines in the FMS using a fixed priority heuristic for routing parts of multiple types while considering alternative process plans and resources for the operations. The FMS controller provides feedback to the shop controller with a set of suggested detailed schedules and projected order completion times. On receiving these results, the shop controller further evaluates each candidate schedule using a multiple-objective function and selects the best schedule for execution. This allows multiple performance objectives of an FMS to be achieved by the integrated hierarchical scheduling approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-409
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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