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A general framework for process scheduling



Existing methods for process scheduling can be broadly classified as network-based or sequential. The former are used to address problems where different batches of the same or different tasks are freely mixed or split, whereas the latter are used to address problems where batch mixing/splitting is not allowed. A framework is proposed that allows us to: (1) express scheduling problems in facilities that consist of network and sequential, as well as continuous subsystems, (2) formulate mixed-integer programming (MIP) scheduling models for such problems, and (3) solve the resulting MIP formulations effectively. The proposed framework bridges the gap between network and sequential approaches, thereby addressing the major formulation challenge in the area of process scheduling, namely, the development of a framework that can be used to address a wide spectrum of problems. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 57: 695–710, 2011