Section: New Results
Modeling and optimization of a launcher integration process
Participants : Benoîte de Saporta, François Dufour, Christophe Nivot.
We are interested in the optimization of a launcher integration process. It comprises several steps from the production of the subassemblies to the final launch. The four subassemblies go through various types of operations such as preparation, integration, control and storage. These operations are split up into three workshops. Due to possible breakdowns or staff issues, the time spent in each workshop is supposed random. So is the time needed to deliver the subassemblies, for similar reasons including e.g. shipping delays. We also have to deal with constraints related to the architecture of the assembly process itself. Indeed, we have to take into account waiting policies between workshops. The workshops may work in parallel but can be blocked if their output is not transferred to the next workshop in line. Storage capacity of output products is limited.
Our goal is finding the best rates of delivery of the subassemblies, the best choice of architecture (regarding stock capacities) and the best times when to stop and restart the workshops to be able to carry out twelve launches a year according to a predetermined schedule at minimal cost. To solve this problem, we choose a mathematical model particularly suitable for optimization with randomness: Markov decision processes (MDPs).
We have implemented a numerical simulator of the process based on the MDP model. It provides the fullest information possible on the process at any time. The simulator has first been validated with deterministic histories. Random histories have then been run with exponentially distributed delivery times for the subassemblies and several families of random laws for the time spent in each workshop. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we obtain the distribution of the launch times. Preliminary optimization results allow choosing stock capacities and delivery rates that satisfy the launch schedule. Work is still in progress concerning cost minimization. It was presented at Airbus internal PhD seminar in November 2014.