This paper considers packing problems with balancing conditions and items consisting of clusters of parallelepipeds (mutually orthogonal, i.e. tetris-like items). This issue is quite frequent in space engineering and a real-world application deals with the Automated Transfer Vehicle project (funded by the European Space Agency), at present under development. A Mixed Integer Programming (MIP) approach is proposed. The three-dimensional single bin packing problem is considered. It consists of orthogonally placing, with possibility of rotation, the maximum number of parallelepipeds into a given parallelepiped. A MIP formulation of the problem is reported together with a MIP-based heuristic approach. Balancing conditions are furthermore examined, as well as the orthogonal placement (with rotation) of tetris-like items into a rectangular domain.
4OR Quarterly Journal of Operations Research Volume 2, Number 2, 2004