Stability of pull production control methods for systems with significant setups

Thomas I. Seidman, Lawrence E. Holloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In manufacturing, a pull production control method is a method of authorizing production based on replenishing current and past consumption, as opposed to forecasts or orders for future consumption. In this paper, we consider special classes of pull systems for operations that involve significant setup times. In particular, we present a model for variations of the signal Kanban method and the pattern production method, each of which is used in industry when conventional Kanban methods are inappropriate. This paper examines such systems under demands with unpredictable load content but an upper bound on the total load. It is shown that, under appropriate conditions, such systems are stable in the sense that cumulative production at any time trails cumulative demand by no more than a constant. We determine buffer parameters under each protocol (including reorder points in the signal Kanban case) such that the backorder queue will clear to zero and remain empty thereafter. The results are then extended to consider multiple machines fulfilling production authorizations in parallel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1637-1647
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Automatic Control
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received June 5, 2001; revised November 15, 2002. Recommended by Associate Editor X. Y. Zhou. This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grants ECS-9807106 and ECS-0115694, in part by the USARO under Grant DAAH04-96-1-0399, and in part by the University of Kentucky Center for Robotics and Manufacturing Systems.


  • Lean manufacturing
  • Pattern production
  • Production control
  • Round robin
  • Signal kanban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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