Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Pascual R., Martínez A. and Giesen R. (2013)

Joint optimization of fleet size and maintenance capacity in a fork-join cyclical transportation system

Revista : Journal of the Operational Research Society
Volumen : 64
Número : 7
Páginas : 982-994
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


This article presents an asset management-oriented multi-criteria methodology for the joint estimation of a mobile equipment fleet size, and the maintenance capacity to be allocated in a productive system. Using a business-centred life-cycle perspective, we propose an integrated analytical model and evaluate it using global cost rate, availability and throughput as performance indicators. The global cost components include: (i) opportunity costs associated with lost production, (ii) vehicle idle time costs, and (iii) maintenance resources idle time costs. This multi-criteria approach allows a balanced scorecard to be built that identifies the main trade-offs in the system. The methodology uses an improved closed network queueing model approach to describe the production and maintenance areas. We test the proposed methodology using an underground mining operation case study. The decision variables are the size of a load-haul-dump fleet and specialized maintenance crew levels. Our model achieves savings of 20.6% in global cost terms with respect to a benchmark case. We also optimize the system to achieve desired targets of vehicle availability and system throughput (based on system utilization). The results show increments of 7.1% in vehicle availability and 13.5% in system throughput with respect to baseline case. For the case studied, these criteria also have a maximum, which allows for further improvement if desired. The results also show the importance of using balanced performance measures in the decision process. A multi-criteria optimization was also performed, showing the Pareto front of considered indicators. We discuss the trade-offs among different criteria, and the implications in finding balanced solutions. The proposed analytical approach is easy to implement and requires low computational effort. It also allows for an easy re-evaluation of resources when the business cycle changes and relevant exogenous factors vary.