Journal of Scheduling

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 649–659 | Cite as

Mixed integer programming based maintenance scheduling for the Hunter Valley coal chain

  • Natashia Boland
  • Thomas Kalinowski
  • Hamish Waterer
  • Lanbo Zheng


We consider the scheduling of the annual maintenance for the Hunter Valley Coal Chain. The coal chain is a system comprising load points, railway track and different types of terminal equipment, interacting in a complex way. A variety of maintenance tasks have to be performed on all parts of the infrastructure on a regular basis in order to assure the operation of the system as a whole. The main objective in the planning of these maintenance jobs is to maximize the total annual throughput. Based on a network flow model of the system, we propose a mixed integer programming formulation for this planning task. In order to deal with the resulting large scale model which cannot be solved directly by a general purpose solver, we propose two steps. The number of binary variables is reduced by choosing a representative subset of the variables of the original problem, and a rolling horizon approach enables the approximation of the long term (i.e. annual) problem by a sequence of shorter problems (for instance, monthly).


Maintenance scheduling Coal supply chain Capacity alignment Network flow Mixed integer programming 



This research was supported by the ARC Linkage Grant no. LP0990739.

We like to acknowledge the valuable contributions of Jonathon Vandervoort, Rob Oyston, Tracey Giles, and the Annual Capacity Alignment Team from the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator (HVCCC) P/L. Without their patience, support, and feedback, this research could not have occurred. We also thank the HVCCC and the Australian Research Council for their joint funding under the ARC Linkage Grant no. LP0990739.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Natashia Boland
    • 1
  • Thomas Kalinowski
    • 1
  • Hamish Waterer
    • 1
  • Lanbo Zheng
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mathematical & Physical SciencesUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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