A mixed-integer linear programming formulation for the modular layout of three-dimensional connected systems
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractGiven the considerable complexity of process plants, there has been a great deal of research focused on aiding the design of plant layout through mathematical optimisation, i.e. optimising the positioning of the equipment in the plant for space and cost efficiency. Recently, the use of modular approaches within the construction industry, whereby work is performed off-site before being assembled on-site, has become a popular and powerful way of reducing build schedules and costs. Modular approaches have many other real applications where items must be packed to minimise the connections between them (e.g. piping, wiring, modular office and factory layouts) and consider the modular layout of the system. In this paper, we provide a formulation of the problem that, in addition to the standard layout problem, considers a modular block layout to allow modular construction and transportation of the plant. The problem is represented as a directed network, with the aim to pack the items into predefined containers and minimise the rectilinear distance between the connected items. We propose mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) models for the 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional problems and solve them using the state-of-the-art mathematical programming solver, Gurobi. Because of the combinatorial nature of the problem, solutions involving a large number of items may not converge and a suboptimal solution must be considered. However, our results suggest that even in the case of optimising a large number of items, the suboptimal solutions found after a reasonable number of iterations where deemed, by a domain expert, to be a good enough starting point to continue the design process, especially in the early concept phase.
CitationO’Neill, S., Wrigley, P. and Bagdasar, O. (2021). 'A mixed-integer linear programming formulation for the modular layout of three-dimensional connected systems'. Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, pp. 1-16.
JournalMathematics and Computers in Simulation