Operation sequencing optimization for five-axis prismatic parts using a particle swarm optimization approach

Y W Guo, Antony R Mileham, Geraint W Owen, Paul G Maropoulos, W D Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


Operation sequencing is one of the crucial tasks in process planning. However, it is an intractable process to identify an optimized operation sequence with minimal machining cost in a vast search space constrained by manufacturing conditions. Also, the information represented by current process plan models for three-axis machining is not sufficient for five-axis machining owing to the two extra degrees of freedom and the difficulty of set-up planning. In this paper, a representation of process plans for five-axis machining is proposed, and the complicated operation sequencing process is modelled as a combinatorial optimization problem. A modern evolutionary algorithm, i.e. the particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm, has been employed and modified to solve it effectively. Initial process plan solutions are formed and encoded into particles of the PSO algorithm. The particles 'fly' intelligently in the search space to achieve the best sequence according to the optimization strategies of the PSO algorithm. Meanwhile, to explore the search space comprehensively and to avoid being trapped into local optima, several new operators have been developed to improve the particle movements to form a modified PSO algorithm. A case study used to verify the performance of the modified PSO algorithm shows that the developed PSO can generate satisfactory results in optimizing the process planning problem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-497
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


  • particle swarm optimization
  • process planning
  • five-axis machining
  • operation sequencing


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