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Nelson Torres, Gus Greivel, Joshua Betz, Eduardo Moreno, Alexandra Newman and Brian Thomas
European Journal of Operational Research, 314(2):496-508, 2024.
Publication year: 2024

In continuous steel casting operations, heats of molten steel are alloyed and refined in ladles, continuously cast and cut into slabs, and hot-rolled into coils. We present a mixed-integer program that produces a daily casting schedule and that is solved using state-of-the-art software for a 100% direct-charge steel mill; two casters concurrently produce slabs, which are rolled into coils at a single hot rolling mill. This model minimizes penalties incurred by violating plant best practices while strictly adhering to safety and logical constraints to manage risk associated with manufacturing incidents. An efficient formulation, combined with variable reduction and cutting planes, expedites solutions for small instances containing hundreds of variables and thousands of constraints by factors of at least two or three (and sometimes even 100); instances an order of magnitude larger along both problem dimensions suggest solutions that reduce costs incurred using plant best practices by as much as 40%.