Unified assembly- and disassembly-line model formulae

Seamus M. McGovern (Supply Chain and Information Management Group, D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA)
Surendra M. Gupta (Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Publication date: 2 March 2015



There is a rich body of literature on sequencing assembly and on sequencing disassembly, but little that either fuses or contrasts the two, which may be valuable for long-range planning in the closed-loop supply chain and simply convenient in terms of consistency in nomenclature and mathematical formulations. The purpose of this paper is to concisely unify and summarize assembly and disassembly formulae – as well as to add new formulations for completeness – and then demonstrate the similarities and differences between assembly and disassembly.


Along with several familiar assembly-line formulae which are adapted here for disassembly, five (two specific and three general) metrics and a comparative performance formula from disassembly-line balancing are proposed for use in assembly- and disassembly-line sequencing and balancing either directly, through generalization, or with some extension. The size of assembly and disassembly search spaces are also quantified and formulated. Three new metrics are then developed from each of the general metrics to demonstrate the process of using these general formulae as prototypes.


The three new metrics along with several of the original metrics are selectively applied to a simple, notional case study product to be sequenced on an assembly line and then on a disassembly line. Using these analytical results, the inherent differences between assembly and disassembly, even for a seemingly trivial product, are illustrated.


The research adds several new assembly/disassembly metrics, a case study, unifies the evaluation formulae that assembly and disassembly hold in common as well as structuring prototype formulae for flexibility in generating new evaluation criteria for both, and quantifies (using the case study) how assembly and disassembly – while certainly possessing similarities – also demonstrate measurable differences that can be expected to affect product design, planning, production, and end-of-life processing.



McGovern, S. and Gupta, S. (2015), "Unified assembly- and disassembly-line model formulae", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 195-212. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMTM-11-2013-0169

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