Machine changeovers, when frequent or complex, can amount to a significant source of inefficiency and loss of manufacturing capacity.
Product changeovers are a common activity present in many manufacturing processes and driven by different reasons, however all changeovers involve changes in product attributes of one type or another. This can include attributes such as colour, dimension, material etc.
In many organisations, these types of changeovers rely on the experience of planners and machine operators to make decisions on how best to sequence production runs. This type of approach can be effective, however it tends to be time consuming, in some cases taking many hours, whereas an algorithm will provide the optimal solution in seconds.
How it works
Optimal sequencing uses a mathematical algorithm to find the shortest path within an ‘attribute space’. This path takes into consideration the set of attributes across a sequence of production runs.
As part of the set-up process, an attribute matrix is developed which contains the possible attribute combinations and permutations and the consequences of making a particular decision. Based on this information, the algorithm creates a sequence which minimises overall changeover time.