Application of operations research in operative planning in the forest industry

University dissertation from Matematiska institutionen

Abstract: The focus of this thesis is the use of Operations Research for pplications in the forest industry. Optimization models and methods have been developed for problems in the forest supply chain and they have been integrated in decision support systems. The problems considered in this thesis are operative with a planning horizon of less than a month. Short solution times for the methods and the feasibility of the models used are important aspects. The body of this thesis consists of eight research papers where six of them consider operative problems and follows the forest supply chain. The industrial applications include routing of forwarders, routing of logging trucks, a process control problem, and roll cutting problems. The other two papers consider an operative planning problem in the home care sector. They are spin offs from one of the other projects in this thesis. In these applications both linear and nonlinear problems occur.The forwarding problem is to decide routes for forwarders to pick up the small piles of logs the harvesters have left in the harvest areas. The forwarders then put the logs adjacent to forest roads. The logging truck problem is to decide routes for logging trucks to pick up the piles created by the forwarders and transport them to demand points, for example pulp or paper mills. The process control problem appear in the bleaching stage of a pulp mill where the control variables are the bleaching chemical charges. The cost of bleaching chemicals is minimized while a finishing brightness within target values is ensured. Mainly two roll cutting problems are studied. One is to minimize the number of cutting patterns and one is to minimize the number of reels when defects in the papper reels are considered. The solution methods developed for the forwarding problem have also been applied to a routing problem which appears in staff planning for home care operations.The different DSS developed and implemented have been tested and several are in daily industrial use. In each of the papers, we have developed robust OR models and quick and effective OR methods. The savings from using the systems vary but are typically in the range 5-20%.

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