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Batch Scheduling

Based on Batch Processes E. Korovessi and

Linninger, 2005, Chapter 10
Scheduling and Planning

This part of the course will cover batch scheduling rather

than production planning.

Production Planning seeks to match production of specific

product to market demand in order to ensure:
a. All orders are met in a timely way
b. Stock levels are maintained
c. Raw material can be procured efficiently
Source of Work processes

Sales Forecasting

Procurement ERP Enterprise

ERP resource planning

Supply chain Logistics

planning MES Manufacturing

Planning and execution systems

Campaign Production
planning scheduling


Process data

Plant wide control

From Batch Processes E. Korovessi and Linninger, 2005, Chapter 10

Scheduling as part of design

When designing or adapting a batch plant scheduling should be considered

early in the project, along with campaign planning.

Utilisation of individual plant items needs to be considered to optimise the

number of plant items specified. Capacities of different stages of the
process need to be considered so that bottlenecks are identified and dealt

Sizing of plant items will be based on the planning strategy.

Characteristics of Batch Plants

In a batch plant the defining characteristic is the recipe

rather than a flowsheet.

Each stage of the recipe may not map to a unique piece of

equipment, several stages of the recipe may take place
in a single vessel. The batch may revisit the same vessel
more than once.

The recipe can be written as a list of processes or

illustrated on a diagram similar to a flowsheet, but we
need to remember that now the boxes do not represent
physical vessels as we are used to.
Batch recipe

Reaction a Reaction b Filter

Reaction c Reaction d Dry

Here the final product is produced by reaction b, the reactants for

this reaction are produced by reactions d and a. Reaction c
precedes reaction d. The final product is a solid which is
recovered by filtration and drying.
This recipe does not tell us about the actual reactants or
products of any of the reactions, or where these reactions are
taking place, It only illustrates the order in which the operations
Tasks and sub-tasks

The tasks shown on the recipe will be made up of sub-tasks, the actual
steps carried out.

Reaction a
so reaction a may actually be
Fill with A
Add B
Agitate for time t
Decant C
Empty P
State-task network

Reaction a C Reaction b D+E Filter D


Reaction c H Reaction d Dry


The State-task network shows the inputs and outputs and intermediate flows of
all the materials involved in the process. The boxes are still tasks rather than
vessels so the arrows are not representative of physical flows as they are in the
flowsheet of a continuous process.
Resource-task networks

reactor 1 reactor 2 reactor 2 filter filter


Reaction a C Reaction b D+E Filter D


reactor 1 reactor 4 J E
Reaction c H Reaction d Dry

reactor 3 reactor 3
I reactor 4

Now the resources required (ie the equipment) are also shown on the
Resource-task networks

In the resource-task network both materials and equipment are treated as

resources. The diagram shows when utilisation of a plant item starts and
ends in relation to the process tasks.

In the example it is assumed that there are 4 reactors. This may well not be the
case; for example, reactions a and b may take place sequentially in the
same vessel.

There may be parallel vessels carrying out the same task to increase
production and improve overall utilisation.

Gantt Charts are often used to illustrate equipment utilisation for a product or
set of products.
Resource-task networks

reactor 1 reactor 1 filter filter


Reaction a C Reaction b D+E Filter D


Reaction c H Reaction d Dry

reactor 3 I reactor 3

Now only two reactors are used, 1 and 3 with two sequential reactions taking
place in both.
Example Gantt Chart

To simplify the chart example a product requiring only reactions a and b,

filtration and the final drying are considered. The two reactions take place in
separate reactors.

There are several options for running batches of this product.

Run successive batches without overlapping. Each batch is completed before the
next begins.

Overlap successive batches so that the next batch starts before the preceding
batch is complete.

Different products can also be produced in a multi-product plant, both

overlapping and not overlapping.
Resource-task networks

reactor 1 reactor 2
reactor 2 filter filter

Reaction a C Reaction b D+E Filter D


reactor 1 E



The simplified process illustrated on the Gantt chart.

Non-overlapping production

reactor 1

reactor 2



2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18

Here two batches are completed in 16 hours. Utilisations of individual plant

items are low.(25% for reactor 1 and the filter, 37.5% for reactor 2, 12.5% for
the dryer.)
Cycle Time

Definition: Cycle Time is the time between the start of one batch
and the start of the next batch (note, not the time from the beginning
to the end of one cycle).

For non-overlapping production cycle time is equal to the

processing time of one batch. In the example this is 8 hours.

Cycle time is reduced by introducing overlap

Makespan is the time required to produce a given number of

batches, either of one product, or one sequence of products.
Overlapping batches

Cycle time is now 3 hours.

Each batch still takes 8
hours to complete.
reactor 1

reactor 2



2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

Now three batches are completed in 14 hours. Reactor 2 is the bottleneck since it is
used continuously for three batches.

In this example the production rate is limited by the capacity of reactor 2.

All the other equipment has additional capacity which could be utilised if the
bottleneck in reactor 2 was relieved.

If we want to maximise production in a process with a bottleneck it is essential

that the bottleneck is fed; there should always be a batch waiting for that
piece of equipment as soon as it becomes available. Lost time on the
bottleneck will reduce the overall production rate.

The process is only as fast as its slowest stage.

For much more on bottlenecks and constraints on production see:

The Goal A Process of Ongoing Improvement E.M. Goldratt, 1993
Breaking the bottleneck

The only way to increase throughput on this process is to relieve the

bottleneck in reactor 2. Increasing capacity in the other equipment is
pointless since it is already underutilised.

At the design stage the conditions in reactor 2 could be changed to

increase the rate of reaction.

Alternatively another reactor could be used in parallel to reactor 2 to

increase throughput. In an existing multi-product plant it might be
possible to identify a further reaction vessel that can be used.

To illustrate this another reactor, identical to reactor 2, is introduced

in parallel to it (so now we have reactors 2a and 2b)
Breaking the bottleneck

reactor 1 Cycle time is now 2

reactor 2a

reactor 2b



2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16


Now three batches are completed in 12 hours (as opposed to 14 hours previously).
Reactor 1 and the filter are both fully utilised. Reactors 2a and 2b are used
alternately, one is always available as the reaction in reactor 1 finishes.
Multiproduct Plants

If another product is run on the same equipment the plant becomes


Some definitions:

Flowshop a plant that manufactures multiple products but in which each

product uses the same stages in the same order. (In the nomenclature of
Korovessi and Linninger this is a multiproduct plant)

Jobshop A plant that produces multiple products, each using some or all of
the same stages (or vessels) but not necessarily in the same order. (In the
nomenclature of Korovessi and Linninger this is a multipurpose plant)
Flowshop and Jobshop Operation





Multipurpose Plants

To illustrate a multi product schedule we will add another product to the

Gantt chart produced before. A campaign of 3 batches of A (the original
product) is followed by a campaign of 2 batches of B.

(Campaign Operation production of a number of batches of one product is

followed by a number of another product)

A is processed as before.

B requires all the stages shown in the resource-task network shown before,
and uses reactor 3 for reaction c and reactor 4 for d. The processing times
are different at each stage for B.
reactor 1

reactor 2a

reactor 2b



2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16


This is the same Gantt chart as before, but batches shown in

deferent shades of teal (or grey if printed off)
For product B only
reactor 3
one of reactors 2a
reactor 4 and 2b is needed.

reactor 1
product B in yellow

reactor 2a

reactor 2b



2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

Further Complication

All the schedules up to now have shown No-Wait operation. material is

transferred to the next stage as soon as it is ready. Sometimes this is
necessary if products can degrade or cool etc.

For no-wait operation the start of each process is delayed to ensure the next
process is available when needed.

If no-wait operation is not necessary batches can sit in a vessel once a

production stage is completed until the next stage is available.

Intermediate storage can be used to hold material between stages

Gantt Chart- No-wait Operation

This shows the alternation of 2 products, A and B, in a 3-

unit plant. Product from one stage must be transferred
immediately to the next. This leads to delays before the
first batch of product B can be started and an overall 11-
hour cycle time between successive batches of A.
Gantt Chart: No Intermediate Storage

We now allow a batch to sit around in any stage after its

completion (in this case, product B in unit 1.) This allows
previously spare capacity in unit 2 to be used and
reduces the cycle time by one hour.
Gantt Chart: Unlimited Intermediate Storage

If facilities exist whereby the first and second stages of

product B can be stored before moving to the second
and third stages respectively, the first vessel is fully
utilised and the cycle time can be further reduced to 9
If such storage vessels were available, the question
arises as to whether there were not more profitable
uses for them, e.g. as processing vessels.
This methodology was developed for the use of e.g.
machine tools. These can be used sequentially on
different products with no restrictions.
In the case of chemical products purity is a major
consideration. This usually demands that plant is
thoroughly cleaned between different products to avoid
This cleaning takes up more potentially valuable
processing time than is saved by clever scheduling.
For this reason, multiproduct chemical plants nearly
always operate in campaigns.
Do You know
The difference between a Resource task network and a
Gantt chart?
The difference between cycle time and the length of time
that it takes to complete a batch of product?
How to calculate the utilisation of a vessel?
Why we might choose no-wait scheduling, even though
it increases cycle time?