A novel optimal method of robotic weld assembly line balancing problems with changeover times: a case study
Article publication date: 8 October 2018
Issue publication date: 26 October 2018
The balancing of robotic weld assembly lines has a significant influence on achievable production efficiency. This paper aims to investigate the most suitable way to assign both assembly tasks and type of robots to every workstation, and present an optimal method of robotic weld assembly line balancing (ALB) problems with the additional concern of changeover times. An industrial case of a robotic weld assembly line problem is investigated with an objective of minimizing cycle time of workstations.
This research proposes an optimal method for balancing robotic weld assembly lines. To solve the problem, a low bound of cycle time of workstations is built, and on account of the non-deterministic polynomial-time (NP)-hard nature of ALB problem (ALBP), a genetic algorithm (GA) with the mechanism of simulated annealing (SA), as well as self-adaption procedure, was proposed to overcome the inferior capability of GA in aspect of local search.
Theory analysis and simulation experiments on an industrial case of a car body welding assembly line are conducted in this paper. Satisfactory results show that the performance of GA is enhanced owing to the mechanism of SA, and the proposed method can efficiently solve the real-world size case of robotic weld ALBPs with changeover times.
The additional consideration of tool changing has very realistic significance in manufacturing. Furthermore, this research work could be modified and applied to other ALBPs, such as worker ALBPs considering tool-changeover times.
For the first time in the robotic weld ALBPs, the fixtures’ (tools’) changeover times are considered. Furthermore, a mathematical model with an objective function of minimizing cycle time of workstations was developed. To solve the proposed problem, a GA with the mechanism of SA was put forth to overcome the inferior capability of GA in the aspect of local search.
The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.
Zhou, B. and Wu, Q. (2018), "A novel optimal method of robotic weld assembly line balancing problems with changeover times: a case study", Assembly Automation, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 376-386. https://doi.org/10.1108/AA-02-2018-026
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