A machine-to-loop assignment and layout design methodology for tandem AGV systems with multiple-load vehicles

Ying Chin Ho, Ping Fong Hsieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


In this paper, we propose a design methodology for tandem Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) systems with multiple-load vehicles. Our goal is to devise a design methodology that can achieve the following objectives in multiple-load tandem AGV designs. The first objective is to achieve the workload-balance between vehicles of different loops. The second objective is to minimize the inter-loop flow. The final objective is to minimize the flow distance. To achieve these objectives, the following problems are studied. First, we conduct simulations to study the relationship between a vehicle's load-carrying capacity and work capacity. This relationship is then considered in the second problem, i.e. the problem of determining the machine content of each loop. A two-stage machine-to-loop assignment method is proposed for solving this problem. At the first stage, an initial machine-to-loop assignment is generated. This initial assignment is then improved at the second stage using Simulated Annealing (SA). The third problem is the problem of determining the layout of machines in each loop. A flow-line design method and SA are adopted for solving this problem. The fourth problem is the layout problem of guide-path loops. To solve this problem, a famous layout method found in the literature is adopted. The last problem includes the problem of determining the best orientation of each loop and the problem of finding the best places to set up transfer stations between adjacent loops. A mathematical programming model that can solve them simultaneously is proposed. Simulations are then conducted to verify the design, and to show that the proposed design methodology is indeed capable of producing good and satisfactory tandem AGV designs with multiple-load AGVs. Finally, it is our hope that the knowledge learned from this study can help us have a better understanding of multiple-load AGV systems and allow us to have successful implementations of similar systems in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-832
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2004


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