The SCOOP project aims at giving a research contribution to the solution of complex problems arising in the management and control of manufacturing processes adopted by European SMEs operating in the furniture sector.
The research is also intended to provide indications for practical advanced solutions aiming at improving SMEs efficiency and competitiveness. In a scenario characterised by new competitors and decreasing labour costs, to maintain plants and expertise in Europe the SMEs considered have a need to minimize the costs deriving from raw materials and set-up times.
The project is focused on furniture industries operating on semi-finished components. These companies already made a relevant investment in automation, but still have serious optimization problems connected with the logistics of the whole production cycle.
The most relevant problem, and starting point for this research, consists in cutting stock sheet into smaller pieces according to specified requirements: basically, parts of given sizes must be cut from stock items of given sizes demanded by customers so that the total trim loss is minimized. Once an operative solution is found, pre-computed cutting pattern are repeatedly applied in order to minimize set-up.
However, the efficiency of the production process also depends on the organization of the pattern sequence: in fact, a part type is generally produced by several cutting patterns, and lots of parts of the same type are output by the system only when all the patterns producing that par t type have been activated.
The efficiency of a supply chain involving cutting operations can greatly benefit from optimal solutions to the problems above; but such problems are very complex, and small and medium enterprises cannot generally solve them efficiently.
An important SCOOP output will be a prototype of decision support software able to integrate state-of-the-art optimization features for cutting stock, pattern sequencing and pallet loading problems.
Call for proposal
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