Scheduling of AGV Systems (Eindhoven)

Category: Internship jobs (E)

Education Level: Bsc / MSc

Context

Prodrive technologies is a developer and manufacturer of world-class electronics. It comprises over 750 employees and is one of the fastest growing companies in Europe.

Our organization is based on two groups: Development and Operations. The Development department is oriented at developing first-rate electronic, mechanic and software solutions. The operations department is responsible for production, assembly, testing and life-cycle-management of electronic products and systems in the range of 1 to more than a million pieces per year.

Currently, Prodrive is developing AGVs to support factory logistic automation. AGVs are vehicles which autonomously transport goods (e.g. boxes with materials). AGVs are used within a production and warehouse environment for logistic purposes (i.e. goods flow).

A fleet of AGVs is controlled by the fleet management systems. The fleet management system receives its jobs from either a Manufacturer Execution System (MES) or Warehouse Management System (WMS). The MES or WMS determines the goods flow depending on push/pull from e.g. a production process. Jobs are characterized by properties like where to pick-up an item and where it should be delivered. Furthermore, a deadline may be attached to a job to allow efficient (future) scheduling. Scheduling a job over the resources (AGVs) is a function of not only the aforementioned parameters but also the location of the AGVs (e.g. proximity to start of job could be taken into account), battery status and jobs in the backlog.

Since multiple AGVs may be used in a single environment and distances of jobs could be long (more than 500 meter), efficiency can be increased by scheduling the jobs over the AGVs in such a way that jobs are re-ordered while still meeting the deadline and driving times are optimized due to proximity of job end and next job start locations.

Assignment

First the student shall investigate the requirements (open for discussion/suggestions) of the required scheduling algorithm. Next, the literature on scheduling of similar systems will be investigated (state-of-the-art) and evaluate their advantages and disadvantages. With the acquired knowledge a suitable algorithm is designed and implemented. The implemented algorithm is evaluated for performance using simulation and/or real-world application.

Deliverables

  • Specification of scheduling algorithm requirements
  • Exploration and selection of scheduling algorithms
  • Design and implementation of scheduling algorithm
  • Evaluation of algorithm performance

Organization

There are few companies in the world of technology which stand out. As a matter of fact, Prodrive Technologies is one of them. Our company was founded in 1993 by technical professionals from the Eindhoven University of Technology. Since then every year has shown a steep growth rate due to a very successful business concept. Currently the total Prodrive Technologies organization consists of 700 employees (575 FTE), highly skilled and highly motivated and focused on results.

Our organization is based on two main groups, Development and Operations. Development works mainly on a project basis and is responsible for the development of electronic, mechanical and software solutions. For each project a project team with the right skills and knowledge is composed. Operations takes care of the production, assembly, testing and life cycle management of electronic products and systems in a range of 1 to 50.000 per year. The Development and Operations groups are support by a Sales department and a small Organization Support Group.

Prodrive Technologies is located in Son (near Eindhoven) in one of the leading technological regions of Western Europe. It has a solid financial basis, which is the result of good profitability and efficiency in the past years. Despite continuous growth and high investment levels, our company is able to guarantee continuity and commitment to our customers as well as to our employees.

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