Background and Setting

A mat of chopped fiberglass strands is slit into several rolls by stationary knives which are later combined on pallets for shipment. Any combinations of product widths can be scheduled concurrently. Line width utilization is a critical factor in the choices of product combinations. Production is primarily made to order. Reinforced fiberglass products must meet tight quality standards. They are the primary raw material for a number of high technology industries.

Client Business Objectives

Increase production capacity by improving line utilization. Re-evaluate the schedule on short notice to respond to orders and line contingencies.

How did UIA Help?

A production scheduling system was developed to:

  • Evaluate build-to-inventory opportunities to include in the schedule.
  • Determine the exhaustive list of possible mat cuts given the set of products in demand and the build-to-inventory opportunities.
  • Select the set of slitting configurations which maximize the line utilization.

This scheduling system was implemented so that it could run a schedule in about 15 minutes thereby meeting the re-run requirements.

It was also integrated with a real time inventory and order entry system.

How the Client Benefited

A 5% improvement in line width utilization was achieved. This improvement translates in about $1 mm per year in increased revenue. Other marginal benefits were derived from a better use of make-to-inventory opportunities and a reduced number of set-ups. Fast re-evaluation of a production schedules permit last minute changes in production orders.