Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type





Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr.Jingshan Li


To improve product quality and reduce cost, batch production is often implemented in many exible manufacturing systems. However, the current literature does not provide any method to analyze the quality performance in a flexible manufacturing system with batch production.

In this research, we present an analytical method with closed-form formula to evaluate the quality performance in such systems. Based on the model, we discover and investigate monotonic and non-monotonic properties in quality to provide practical guidance for operation management. To improve product quality, we introduce the notions of quality improvability with respect to product sequencing. In addition, we develop the indicators for quality improvability based on the data available on the factory floor rather than complicated calculations. We define the bottleneck sequence and bottleneck transition as the ones that impede quality in the strongest manner, investigate the sensitivity of quality performance with respect to sequences and transitions, and propose quality bottleneck sequence and transition indicators based on the measured data. Finally, we provide a case study at an automotive paint shop to show how this method is applied to improve paint quality.

Moreover, we explore a potential application to reduce energy consumption and atmospheric emissions at automotive paint shops. By selecting appropriate batch and sequence policies, the paint quality can be improved and repaints can be reduced so that less material and energy will be consumed, and less atmospheric emissions will be generated. It is shown that such scheduling and control method can lead to significant energy savings and emission reduction with no extra investment nor changes to existing painting processes.

The successful development of such method would open up a new area in manufacturing systems research and contribute to establish a solid foundation for an integrated study on productivity, quality and exibility. In addition, it will provide production engineers and operation managers a quantitative tool for continuous improvement on product quality in flexible manufacturing environment



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