A Critical Review of Multi-hole Drilling Path Optimization

R.R.H. Dewil, Ilker Küçükoglu, Corrinne Luteyn, Dirk Cattrysse

    Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


    Hole drilling is one of the major basic operations in part manufacturing. It follows without surprise then that the optimization of this process is of great importance when trying to minimize the total financial and environmental cost of part manufacturing. In multi-hole drilling, 70 % of the total process time is spent in tool movement and tool switching. Therefore, toolpath optimization in particular has attracted significant attention in cost minimization. This paper
    critically reviews research publications on drilling path optimization. In particular, this review focuses on three aspects; problem modeling, objective functions, and optimization algorithms.
    We conclude that most papers being published on hole drilling are simply basic Traveling Salesman Problems (TSP) for which extremely powerful heuristics exist and for which source code is readily available. Therefore, it is remarkable that many researchers continue developing “novel” metaheuristics for hole drilling without properly situating those approaches in the larger TSP literature. Consequently, more challenging hole drilling applications that are modeled by the Precedence Constrained TSP or hole drilling with sequence dependent drilling times do not much research focus. Sadly, these many low quality hole drilling research publications drown out the occasional high quality papers that describe specific problematic problem constraints or objective functions. It is our hope through this review paper that researchers’ efforts can be refocused on these problem aspects in order to minimize production costs in the general sense.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1
    Number of pages11
    JournalArchives of Computational Methods in Engineering
    Issue number2
    Early online date22 Jan 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


    • hole drilling
    • path optimizatoin


    Dive into the research topics of 'A Critical Review of Multi-hole Drilling Path Optimization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this