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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 254346, 28 pages
Research Article

A Variable Neighborhood Search Algorithm for the Leather Nesting Problem

Centro de Investigação Algoritmi da Universidade do Minho, Escola de Engenharia, Universidade do Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal

Received 20 May 2011; Accepted 6 October 2011

Academic Editor: J. J. Judice

Copyright © 2012 Cláudio Alves et al. 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 leather nesting problem is a cutting and packing optimization problem that consists in finding the best layout for a set of irregular pieces within a natural leather hide with an irregular surface and contour. In this paper, we address a real application of this problem related to the production of car seats in the automotive industry. The high quality requirements imposed on these products combined with the heterogeneity of the leather hides make the problem very complex to solve in practice. Very few results are reported in the literature for the leather nesting problem. Furthermore, the majority of the approaches impose some additional constraints to the layouts related to the particular application that is considered. In this paper, we describe a variable neighborhood search algorithm for the general leather nesting problem. To evaluate the performance of our approaches, we conducted an extensive set of computational experiments on real instances. The results of these experiments are reported at the end of the paper.