Abstract

Planning and scheduling wood lumber drying operations is a very difficult problem. The literature proposes different methods aiming to minimize order lateness. They all make use of pre-established kiln loading patterns that are known to offer good physical stability in the kiln and allow full kiln space utilization. Instead, we propose a mixed integer programming (MIP) model, which can be used to generate loading patterns “on the fly.” This MIP model can be integrated into existing kiln drying operation planning/scheduling systems in order to improve their solutions. We show how this integration can be done by adapting a state of the art drying operations planning and scheduling methodology from the literature. We compare the solutions obtained by this system using the predefined loading patterns versus the solutions it generates if it is connected to our loading patterns generator MIP model. The study shows it is much better to dynamically create loading patterns than to use predefined ones, as most North American sawmills do.

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