A Data-Driven Approach for Multi-level Packing Problems in Manufacturing Industry

author: Lei Chen, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
published: March 2, 2020,   recorded: August 2019,   views: 1
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Description

The bin packing problem is one of the most fundamental optimization problems. Owing to its hardness as a combinatorial optimization problem class and its wide range of applications in different domains, different variations of the problem are emerged and many heuristics have been proposed for obtaining approximate solutions.

In this paper, we solve a Multi-Level Bin Packing (MLBP) problem in the real make-to-order industry scenario. Existing solutions are not applicable to the problem due to: 1. the final packing may consist multiple levels of sub-packings; 2. the geometry shapes of objects as well as the packing constraints may be unknown. We design an automatic packing framework which extracts the packing knowledge from historical records to support packing without geometry shape and constraint information. Furthermore, we propose a dynamic programming approach to find the optimal solution for normal size problems; and a heuristic multi-level fuzzy-matching algorithm for large size problems. An inverted index is used to accelerate strategy search. The proposed auto packing framework has been deployed in Huawei Process & Engineering System to assist the packing engineers. It achieves a performance of accelerating the execution time of processing 5,000 packing orders to about $8$ minutes with an average successful packing rate as $80.54%$, which releases at least $30%$ workloads of packing workers.

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