Throughput Optimization in Dual-Gripper Interval Robotic Cells

IIE Transactions (2010) 42, 1-15

Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2015-20

17 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2015

See all articles by Milind Dawande

Milind Dawande

University of Texas at Dallas - Department of Information Systems & Operations Management

Neil Geismar

Texas A&M University - Mays Business School

Michael Pinedo

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Chelliah Sriskandarajah

Texas A&M University

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Interval robotic cells with several processing stages (chambers) have been increasingly used for diverse wafer fabrication processes in semi-conductor manufacturing. Processes such as low-pressure chemical vapor deposition, etching, cleaning and chemical-mechanical planarization, require strict time control for each processing stage. A wafer treated in a processing chamber must leave that chamber within a specified time limit; otherwise the wafer is exposed to residual gases and heat, resulting in quality problems. Interval robotic cells are also widely used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards.

The problem of scheduling operations in dual-gripper interval robotic cells that produce identical wafers (or parts) is considered in this paper. The objective is to find a 1-unit cyclic sequence of robot moves that minimizes the long-run average time to produce a part or, equivalently, maximizes the throughput. Initially two extreme cases are considered, namely no-wait cells and free-pickup cells; for no-wait cells (resp., free-pickup cells), an optimal (resp., asymptotically optimal) solution is obtained in polynomial time. It is then proved that the problem is strongly NP-hard for a general interval cell. Finally, results of an extensive computational study aimed at analyzing the improvement in throughput realized by using a dual-gripper robot instead of a single-gripper robot are presented. It is shown that employing a dual-gripper robot can lead to a significant gain in productivity. Operations managers can compare the resulting increase in revenue with the additional costs of acquiring and maintaining a dual-gripper robot to determine the circumstances under which such an investment is appropriate.

Keywords: Robotic cells, single-gripper and dual-gripper robots, throughput optimization, time window constraints

Suggested Citation

Dawande, Milind and Geismar, Neil and Pinedo, Michael and Sriskandarajah, Chelliah, Throughput Optimization in Dual-Gripper Interval Robotic Cells (2010). IIE Transactions (2010) 42, 1-15; Mays Business School Research Paper No. 2015-20. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2558156

Milind Dawande

University of Texas at Dallas - Department of Information Systems & Operations Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

Neil Geismar (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Mays Business School ( email )

Wehner 401Q, MS 4353
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States

Michael Pinedo

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Chelliah Sriskandarajah

Texas A&M University ( email )

Langford Building A
798 Ross St.
77843-3137

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