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Response surface approach to robust design of assembly cells through simulation

Cem Savas Aydin (Department of Industrial Engineering, Istanbul Aydin Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey)
Senim Ozgurler (Department of Industrial Engineering, Yildiz Teknik Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey)
Mehmet Bulent Durmusoglu (Department of Industrial Engineering, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey)
Mesut Ozgurler (Department of Industrial Engineering, Yildiz Teknik Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 15 March 2018

Issue publication date: 26 October 2018




This paper aims to present a multi-response robust design (RD) optimization approach for U-shaped assembly cells (ACs) with multi-functional walking-workers by using operational design (OD) factors in a simulation setting. The proposed methodology incorporated the design factors related to the operation of ACs into an RD framework. Utilization of OD factors provided a practical design approach for ACs addressing system robustness without modifying the cell structure.


Taguchi’s design philosophy and response surface meta-models have been combined for robust simulation optimization (SO). Multiple performance measures have been considered for the study and concurrently optimized by using a multi-response optimization (MRO) approach. Simulation setting provided flexibility in experimental design selection and facilitated experiments by avoiding cost and time constraints in real-world experiments.


The present approach is illustrated through RD of an AC for performance measures: average throughput time, average WIP inventory and cycle time. Findings are in line with expectations that a significant reduction in performance variability is attainable by trading-off optimality for robustness. Reductions in expected performance (optimality) values are negligible in comparison to reductions in performance variability (robustness).

Practical implications

ACs designed for robustness are more likely to meet design objectives once they are implemented, preventing changes or roll-backs. Successful implementations serve as examples to shop-floor personnel alleviating issues such as operator/supervisor resistance and scepticism, encouraging participation and facilitating teamwork.


ACs include many activities related to cell operation which can be used for performance optimization. The proposed framework is a realistic design approach using OD factors and considering system stochasticity in terms of noise factors for RD optimization through simulation. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, it is the first time a multi-response RD optimization approach for U-shaped manual ACs with multi-functional walking-workers using factors related to AC operation is proposed.



Aydin, C.S., Ozgurler, S., Durmusoglu, M.B. and Ozgurler, M. (2018), "Response surface approach to robust design of assembly cells through simulation", Assembly Automation, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 450-464.



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