Abstract

The two-machine permutation flow shop scheduling problem with buffer is studied for the special case that all processing times on one of the two machines are equal to a constant c. This case is interesting because it occurs in various applications, for example, when one machine is a packing machine or when materials have to be transported. Different types of buffers and buffer usage are considered. It is shown that all considered buffer flow shop problems remain NP-hard for the makespan criterion even with the restriction to equal processing times on one machine. However, the special case where the constant c is larger or smaller than all processing times on the other machine is shown to be polynomially solvable by presenting an algorithm (2BF-OPT) that calculates optimal schedules in O(nlogn) steps. Two heuristics for solving the NP-hard flow shop problems are proposed: (i) a modification of the commonly used NEH heuristic (mNEH) and (ii) an Iterated Local Search heuristic (2BF-ILS) that uses the mNEH heuristic for computing its initial solution. It is shown experimentally that the proposed 2BF-ILS heuristic obtains better results than two state-of-the-art algorithms for buffered flow shop problems from the literature and an Ant Colony Optimization algorithm. In addition, it is shown experimentally that 2BF-ILS obtains the same solution quality as the standard NEH heuristic, however, with a smaller number of function evaluations.

You do not currently have access to this content.