Planning and scheduling of flexible process networks under uncertainty with stochastic inventory: MINLP models and algorithm



The tactical planning and scheduling of chemical process networks consisting of both dedicated and flexible processes under demand and supply uncertainty is addressed. To integrate the stochastic inventory control decisions with the production planning and scheduling, a mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) model is proposed that captures the stochastic nature of the demand variations and supply delays using the guaranteed-service approach. The model takes into account multiple tradeoffs and simultaneously determines the optimal selection of production schemes, purchase amounts of raw materials, sales of final products, production levels of processes, detailed cyclic production schedules for flexible processes, and working inventory and safety stock levels of all chemicals involved in the process network. To globally optimize the resulting nonconvex MINLP problems with modest computational times, the model properties are exploited and a tailored branch-and-refine algorithm based on the successive piecewise linear approximation is proposed. To handle the degeneracy of alternative optima in assignment configurations of production scheduling, three symmetry breaking cuts are further developed to accelerate the solution process. The application of the model and the performance of the proposed algorithm are illustrated through three examples with up to 25 chemicals and 16 processes including at most 8 production schemes for each flexible process. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 1511–1532, 2013