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Keywords:

  • multi-objective;
  • unequal area facility layout problem;
  • interactive evolutionary computation;
  • facility layout

Abstract

The unequal area facility layout problem (UA-FLP) has been addressed by many methods. Most of them only take aspects that can be quantified into account. This contribution presents a novel approach, which considers both quantitative aspects and subjective features. To this end, a multi-objective interactive genetic algorithm is proposed with the aim of allowing interaction between the algorithm and the human expert designer, normally called the decision maker (DM) in the field of UA-FLP. The contribution of the DM's knowledge into the approach guides the complex search process, adjusting it to the DM's preferences. The entire population associated to facility layout designs is evaluated by quantitative criteria in combination with an assessment prepared by the DM, who gives a subjective evaluation for a set of representative individuals of the population in each iteration. In order to choose these individuals, a soft computing clustering method is used. Two interesting real-world data sets are analysed to empirically probe the robustness of these models. The first UA-FLP case study describes an ovine slaughterhouse plant and the second, a design for recycling carton plant. Relevant results are obtained, and interesting conclusions are drawn from the application of this novel intelligent framework.