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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 6, Issue 6, Pages 527-541

Modular production line optimization: The exPLORE architecture

1Department of Information and Communication Systems, GR-832 00 Karlovasi, Greece
2Department of Business Administration, GR-821 00 Chios, University of the Aegean, Greece

Received 21 February 2000; Revised 24 July 2000

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The general design problem in serial production lines concerns the allocation of resources such as the number of servers, their service rates, and buffers given production-specific constraints, associated costs, and revenue projections. We describe the design of exPLOre: a modular, object-oriented, production line optimization software architecture. An abstract optimization module can be instantiated using a variety of stochastic optimization methods such as simulated annealing and genetic algorithms. Its search space is constrained by a constraint checker while its search direction is guided by a cost analyser which combines the output of a throughput evaluator with the business model. The throughput evaluator can be instantiated using Markovian, generalised queueing network methods, a decomposition, or an expansion method algorithm.