Flexible manufacturing systems operate in a dynamic environment and face considerable uncertainty in production demands. The development of a flexible machine layout is a critical issue in creating a system that can respond effectively to these requirements. Unlike most existing methods for creating flexible layout designs, the procedure developed in this paper is not restricted to equal size machines. It optimizes the trade-offs between increased material handling costs as requirements change and machine rearrangement costs needed to adapt the layout to these changes. The proposed flexible machine layout design procedure formulates and solves a robust machine layout design problem over a rolling horizon planning time window. The formulation, details of the solution methodology, illustrative examples, and computational results are presented.
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