Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering


Applied sciences, Reconfigurable process planning


Hoda A. El Maraghy




Increased global competition and frequent unpredictable market changes are current challenges facing manufacturing enterprises. Unpredictable changes of part design and engineering specifications trigger frequent and costly changes in process plans, which often require changes in the functionality and design of the manufacturing system. Process planning is a key logical enabler that should be further developed to cope with the changes encountered at the system level as well as to support the new manufacturing paradigms and continuously evolving products. Retrieval-based process planning predicated on rigid pre-defined boundaries of part families, does not satisfactorily support this changeable manufacturing environment. Since purely generative process planning systems are not yet a reality, a sequential hybrid approach at the macro-level has been proposed. Initially the master plan information of the part family's composite part is retrieved, then modeling tools and algorithms are applied to arrive at the process plan of the new part, the definition of which does not necessarily lie entirely within the boundary of its original part family. Two distinct generative methods, namely Reconfigurable Process Planning (RPP) and Process Re-Planning were developed and compared. For RPP, a genuine reconfiguration of process plans to optimize the scope, extent and cost of reconfiguration is achieved using a novel 0-1 integer-programming model. Mathematical programming and formulation is proposed, for the first time, to reconfigure process plans to account for changes in parts' features beyond the scope of the original product family. The computational time complexity of RPP is advantageously polynomial compared with the exponentially growing time complexity of its classical counterparts. As for Process Re-Planning, a novel adaptation of the Quadratic Assignment Problem (QAP) formulation has been developed, where machining features are assigned positions in one-dimensional space. A linearization of the quadratic model was performed. The proposed model cures the conceptual flaws in the classical Traveling Salesperson Problem; it also overcomes the complexity of the sub-tour elimination constraints and, for the first time, mathematically formulates the precedence constraints, which are a comer stone of the process planning problem. The developed methods, their limitations and merits are conceptually and computationally, analyzed, compared and validated using detailed industrial case studies. A reconfiguration metric on the part design level is suggested to capture the logical extent and implications of design changes on the product level; equally, on the process planning level a new criterion is introduced to evaluate and quantify impact of process plans reconfiguration on downstream shop floor activities. GAMS algebraic modeling language, its SBB mixed integer nonlinear programming solver, CPLEX solvers and Matlab are used. The presented innovative new concepts and novel formulations represent significant contributions to knowledge in the field of process planning. Their effectiveness and applicability were validated in different domains.