Software for carton-box/container layout optimization
Textile industry faces the challenge of optimal packaging of cone-shaped paper yarn carriers, used for winding and transporting yarn. The scope of this project was to develop a software application that would find optimal solutions, regarding the layout of boxed textile cones inside a container. The goal was to maximize the number of packaged cones and eventually minimize transport costs. The project was developed for a multi-million dollar corporation; a leader in the textile cone industry.
During transportation, the cones are arranged in sticks, which are layed in rows in boxes. We assume that boxes can be arranged in the container in two different directions. A multivariate optimization algorithm is used to find optimal configurations of the input parameters according to a cost function. The metric towards which optimization is performed, is the number of cones in the container. The aim of the application isto maximize the total number of cones packaged in the container. Some of the input parameters are:
- the cone dimensions
- the cone paper weight
- the cone paper thickness
- the box paper thickness
- the maximum allowable weight for each box
- the container dimensions, etc.
The output of the algorithm is:
- the number of cones per stick
- the sticks arrangement in the box
- the box dimensions
The user can manipulate the Container and Cone data. The application gives the ability to add new items in the Containers/Cones library so that flexibility and long term use are assured.
The cone and container data can be recalled from the application library, so that any combination can be explored as required. The software is also able to save successful configurations for later recall.
The coding was done with C++ high level language and the software was designed as a standalone application. The front end of the application is a friendly User Interface, developed in close cooperation with the user, ensuring that it fits to user needs. The application is characterized by robustness, flexibility and ease of use.