Two-machine flow shop scheduling of polyurethane foam production

Miao-Tsong Lin*, Y. Y. Lin, K. T. Fang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper studies a two-machine flow shop scheduling problem with a supporting precedence relation. The model originates from a real production context of a chemical factory that produces foam-rubber products. We extend the traditional two-machine flow shop by dividing the operations into two categories: supporting tasks and regular jobs. In the model, several different compositions of foam rubber can be mixed at the foam blooming stage, and products are processed at the manufacturing stage. Each job (product) on the second machine cannot start until its supporting tasks (parts) on the first machine are all finished and the second machine is not occupied. The objective is to find a schedule that minimizes the total job completion time. The studied problem is strongly NP-hard. In this paper, we propose a branch-and-bound algorithm incorporating a lower bound and two dominance rules. We also design a simple heuristic and an iterated local search (ILS) algorithm to derive approximate solutions. The performances of the proposed algorithms are examined through computational experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-294
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Production Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Branch-and-bound algorithm
  • Flow shop
  • Heuristic
  • Iterative local search
  • Polyurethane foam
  • Precedence constraints


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