Stochastic Earthmoving Fleet Arrangement Optimization Considering Project Duration and Cost
Earthmoving is one of the main processes involved in heavy construction and mining projects. It requires a significant share of the project budget and can dictate its overall success. Earthmoving related activities have a stochastic nature that affects the project cost and duration. In common practice, the equipment required for a project is selected using average operating cycles, neglecting the stochastic nature of operations and equipment. Ultimately this can lead to rough estimates and poor
... estimates and poor results in meeting the projects' objectives. This research aims to provide a decision-support tool for earthmoving operations and achieve the best arrangement of equipment based on project objectives and equipment specifications by utilizing historical data. Operation simulation is identified as an efficient technique to model and analyze the stochastic aspects of the cost and duration of earthmoving operations in construction projects. Therefore, two simulation models—namely the Decision-Support Model and the Estimation Model, have been developed in the Symphony.net modeling environment to address the industry needs. The Decision-Support Model provides the best arrangement of equipment to maximize global resource utilization. In contrast, the Estimation Model captures more of the project details and compares various equipment arrangements. In this paper, these models are created, and the modeling logic is validated through a case study employing a real-world earthmoving project that demonstrates the model's capabilities. The decision support model showed promising results in determining the optimized fleet selection when considering equipment and shift variations, and the cost model helped better quantifying the impact of the decision on the cost and profit of the project. This modeling approach can be reproduced by others in any case of interest to gain optimal fleet management.