Real time optimization of flat glass cutting lines
This project focuses on an optimization problem that arises at flat glass production lines. In flat glass production, glass exits the furnace as a continuous ribbon and glass products of various sizes are cut from this ribbon as it moves on the conveyor belt. In this process, the glass ribbon cannot be converted to glass products entirely due to defects on the glass ribbon and the left over glass from the cut products. The scrap glass, termed “cullet” is sent back to the furnace to be melted again. Cullet glass decreases the efficiency of the production line and results in additional cost as it is melted to be recycled. Therefore, the primary goal of flat glass production lines is to minimize the cullet that results from the cutting process. It is also important to ensure that the number of products cut of each product type are in line with the production targets set for the line. In this project, we propose a solution method that determines the products to be cut from the moving glass and how these products should be placed on the glass ribbon in real time.