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Route Planning for Agricultural Machines with Multiple Depots: Manure Application Case Study

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Capacitated field operations involve input/output material flows where there are capacity constraints in the form of a specific load that a vehicle can carry. As such, a specific normal-sized field cannot be covered in one single operation using only one load, and the vehicle needs to get serviced (i.e., refilling) from out-of-field facilities (depot). Although several algorithms have been developed to solve the routing problem of capacitated operations, these algorithms only considered one depot. The general goal of this paper is to develop a route planning tool for agricultural machines with multiple depots. The tool presented consists of two modules: the first one regards the field geometrical representation in which the field is partitioned into tracks and headland passes; the second one regards route optimization that is implemented by the metaheuristic simulated annealing (SA) algorithm. In order to validate the developed tool, a comparison between a well-known route planning approach, namely B-pattern, and the algorithm presented in this study was carried out. The results show that the proposed algorithm outperforms the B-pattern by up to 20.0% in terms of traveled nonworking distance. The applicability of the tool developed was tested in a case study with seven scenarios differing in terms of locations and number of depots. The results of this study illustrated that the location and number of depots significantly affect the total nonworking traversal distance during a field operation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1608
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

    Research areas

  • operations management; optimization; route planning; field efficiency; multiple depots; simulated annealing; nonfixed MD-CVRP problem; decision support

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