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Assembly line balancing problem: A comparative evaluation of heuristics and a computational assessment of objectives

Masood Fathi (Department of Production and Automation Engineering, University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden)
Dalila Benedita Machado Martins Fontes (Faculty of Economics, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal and Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Decision Support (LIAAD), INESC TEC, Porto, Portugal)
Matias Urenda Moris (Department of Industrial Engineering and Management, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden and Division of Industrial Engineering and Management, Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)
Morteza Ghobakhloo (Department of Industrial Engineering, Minab Higher Educational Center, University of Hormozgan, Bandar Abbas, Iran)

Journal of Modelling in Management

ISSN: 1746-5664

Article publication date: 14 May 2018

1406

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to first investigate the efficiency of the most commonly used performance measures for minimizing the number of workstations (NWs) in approaches addressing simple assembly line balancing problem (SALBP) for both straight and U-shaped line, and second to provide a comparative evaluation of 20 constructive heuristics to find solutions to the SALBP-1.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 200 problems are solved by 20 different constructive heuristics for both straight and U-shaped assembly line. Moreover, several comparisons have been made to evaluate the performance of constructive heuristics.

Findings

Minimizing the smoothness index is not necessarily equivalent to minimizing the NWs; therefore, it should not be used as the fitness function in approaches addressing the SALBP-1. Line efficiency and the idle time are indeed reliable performance measures for minimizing the NWs. The most promising heuristics for straight and U-shaped line configurations for SALBP-1 are also ranked and introduced.

Practical implications

Results are expected to help scholars and industrial practitioners to better design effective solution methods for having the most balanced assembly line. This study will further help with choosing the most proper heuristic with regard to the problem specifications and line configuration.

Originality/value

There is limited research assessing the efficiency of the common objectives for SALBP-1. This study is among the first to prove that minimizing the workload smoothness is not equivalent to minimizing the NWs in SALBP-1 studies. This work is also one of the first attempts for evaluating the constructive heuristics for both straight and U-shaped line configurations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The first author is partially supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 723711 through the MANUWORK project.

Conflict of interests: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.

Citation

Fathi, M., Fontes, D.B.M.M., Urenda Moris, M. and Ghobakhloo, M. (2018), "Assembly line balancing problem: A comparative evaluation of heuristics and a computational assessment of objectives", Journal of Modelling in Management, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 455-474. https://doi.org/10.1108/JM2-03-2017-0027

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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