Workload Control in Additive Manufacturing Shops where Post-Processing is a Constraint:An Assessment by Simulation

Thurer, Matthias and Huang, Yuan and Stevenson, Mark (2021) Workload Control in Additive Manufacturing Shops where Post-Processing is a Constraint:An Assessment by Simulation. International Journal of Production Research, 59 (14). pp. 4268-4286. ISSN 0020-7543

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Additive Manufacturing (AM) shops typically produce high variety, low volume products on a to-order basis. Products are first created in parallel batches at a single AM station before being subjected to several post-processing operations. While there exists an emerging literature on AM station scheduling and order book smoothing, this literature has largely neglected downstream post-processing operations, which also affect overall performance. Workload Control provides a unique production control solution for these post-processing operations, but the specific AM shop structure has been neglected in the literature. Using simulation, this study shows that load balancing via the use of workload norms, as is typical for Workload Control, becomes ineffective since the norm must allow for the operation throughput time at the AM station and for its variability. A sequencing rule for the jobs waiting to be released that inherently creates a mix of jobs that balances the workload is therefore identified as the best-performing rule. These findings reinforce the principle that load limiting should be used at upstream stations whereas sequencing should be applied at downstream stations. Finally, although the focus is on AM shops, the findings have implications for other shops with similar structures, e.g. in the steel and semi-conductor industries.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Production Research
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Production Research, 59, 14 (2021) available online:
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Deposited On:
23 Apr 2020 09:10
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 02:48