This article formulates a new optimal design problem of a flexible transfer line with feed-forward lines (FTL-FF). The machine tools and the buffer size are included to find the optimal design of the FTL-FF that achieves a greater production rate of the FTL-FF. Machine tools with different performances are selected from a list of products available in the market. To solve this problem, a discrete event production simulator (DEPS) in conjunction with genetic algorithm (GA) is proposed. The GA methodology is based on a technique that is called multi-group arrangement method (MGAM) which arranges the genes in individuals. Numerical examples ascertained that after a number of operations based on the combination of DEPS and GA, the nearest optimal design of FTL-FF is found.
Keywords: flexible transfer lines, feed-forward lines, FTL-FF, buffers, genetic algorithms, GAs, discrete event simulation, production simulator, DEPS, optimal design, machine tool selection, buffer size