Optimal Torpedo Scheduling
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We consider the torpedo scheduling problem in steel production, which is concerned with the transport of hot metal from a blast furnace to an oxygen converter. A schedule must satisfy, amongst other considerations, resource capacity constraints along the path and the locations traversed as well as the sulfur level of the hot metal. The goal is first to minimize the number of torpedo cars used during the planning horizon and second to minimize the time spent desulfurizing the hot metal. We propose an exact solution method based on Logic based Benders Decomposition using Mixed-Integer and Constraint Programming, which optimally solves and proves, for the first time, the optimality of all instances from the ACP Challenge 2016 within 10 minutes. In addition, we adapted our method to handle large-scale instances and instances with a more general rail network. This adaptation optimally solved all challenge instances within one minute and was able to solve instances of up to 100,000 hot metal pickups.