Scheduling Twin Robots in a Palletising Problem

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This paper introduces the Twin Robot Palletising Problem (TRPP) in which two robots must be scheduled and routed to pick up and deliver products at specified locations along a rail. The robots are initially located at the opposite ends of the rail and must preserve a minimum safe distance from one another. The objective is to minimise the makespan, defined as the time required to complete all operations and for both robots to return to their starting positions. The paper presents a proof of NP-Hardness of the TRPP, as well as two mixed integer linear programming models. Local search operators are introduced, before an iterated local search and an iterated local search and a genetic algorithm are developed, in which a linear-time scheduling algorithm and dynamic programming are utilised to evaluate the quality of solutions. Extensive computational results demonstrate the limits of the mathematical models, the effectiveness of the metaheuristics, and the savings obtained using twin robots instead of a single one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-542
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number1-2
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • genetic algorithms
  • makespan
  • mixed integer linear programming
  • palletising
  • scheduling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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