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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1987

T.K. Bhattacharjee and S. Sahu

This paper briefly reviews the assembly line balancing techniques developed over the last 30 years. It attempts to establish the direction of research, to identify…

Abstract

This paper briefly reviews the assembly line balancing techniques developed over the last 30 years. It attempts to establish the direction of research, to identify unexplored areas with potential for study and recommends future courses of action.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 7 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 September 2010

Kürşad Ağpak

Cycle time fluctuations in assembly lines are one of the important reasons of re‐balancing. As a result of re‐balancing of assembly lines, it will be necessary to change…

Abstract

Purpose

Cycle time fluctuations in assembly lines are one of the important reasons of re‐balancing. As a result of re‐balancing of assembly lines, it will be necessary to change task sequences or equipment locations. The purpose of this paper is to find the task sequence which enables assembly line balancing (ALB) with minimum number of stations (NS) for different cycle times such that tasks and equipment or fixture locations remain unchanged.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper a heuristic which consist of two stages is proposed to find a common task sequence for different cycle times in assembly lines.

Findings

It is shown that optimal NS for different cycle times can be achieved with a fixed task sequence.

Research limitations/implications

The approach is limited to a single model case. Model variety together with cycle time variety can be investigated in further studies.

Practical implications

Assembly lines which require less time and cost for re‐balancing can be easily designed by the proposed approach.

Originality/value

ALB problem is handled with a new viewpoint. Also, it is observed that the proposed approach serves as a bridge between assembly line design and balancing. In this regard, it is thought to have an important place in the ALB literature.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 June 2019

Faruk Serin, Süleyman Mete and Erkan Çelik

Changing the product characteristics and demand quantity resulting from the variability of the modern market leads to re-assigned tasks and changing the cycle time on the…

Abstract

Purpose

Changing the product characteristics and demand quantity resulting from the variability of the modern market leads to re-assigned tasks and changing the cycle time on the production line. Therefore, companies need re-balancing of their assembly line instead of balancing. The purpose of this paper is to propose an efficient algorithm approach for U-type assembly line re-balancing problem using stochastic task times.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, a genetic algorithm is proposed to solve approach for U-type assembly line re-balancing problem using stochastic task times.

Findings

The performance of the genetic algorithm is tested on a wide variety of data sets from literature. The task times are assumed normal distribution. The objective is to minimize total re-balancing cost, which consists of workstation cost, operating cost and task transposition cost. The test results show that proposed genetic algorithm approach for U-type assembly line re-balancing problem performs well in terms of minimizing total re-balancing cost.

Practical implications

Demand variation is considered for stochastic U-type re balancing problem. Demand change also affects cycle time of the line. Hence, the stochastic U-type re-balancing problem under four different cycle times are analyzed to present practical case.

Originality/value

As per the authors’ knowledge, it is the first time that genetic algorithm is applied to stochastic U-type re balancing problem. The large size data set is generated to analyze performance of genetic algorithm. The results of proposed algorithm are compared with ant colony optimization algorithm.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 39 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 November 2016

Aysun Türkmen, Yalcin Yesil and Mahmut Kayar

The purpose of this paper is to find the most efficient assembly line balancing solution across many heuristic line balancing methods, in assistance with a developed…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to find the most efficient assembly line balancing solution across many heuristic line balancing methods, in assistance with a developed computer program.

Design/methodology/approach

In this paper, assembly line balancing problem was analyzed using t-shirt and knitted pants data. A computer program using MATLAB software for the solution of assembly line balancing problems has been developed. In this study, following heuristic assembly line balancing methods were applied: Hoffman method; position weight method; COMSOAL method; and Kilbridge and Wester method. A MATLAB program has been developed by taking into account of theoretical solution of all these methods. Later the program is developed further by analyzing solutions made manually and is made to verify the developed program.

Findings

Pre-studies which were conducted in order to decide which programming language would be the best choice for line balancing methods’ application came out with the result that MATLAB, from between C, C++, C# and Java, would be the best software choice. The main reason for this choice is that MATLAB is a powerful matrix operation software with a powerful user interface designing tool and has the tools to make development program to be used universally in every computer.

Originality/value

When the researches were investigated, it is clearly seen that, this study is the first research on using computer program for solving assembly line balancing problem.

Details

International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology, vol. 28 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0955-6222

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 February 2020

Humyun Fuad Rahman, Mukund Nilakantan Janardhanan and Peter Nielsen

Optimizing material handling within the factory is one of the key problems of modern assembly line systems. The purpose of this paper is to focus on simultaneously…

Abstract

Purpose

Optimizing material handling within the factory is one of the key problems of modern assembly line systems. The purpose of this paper is to focus on simultaneously balancing a robotic assembly line and the scheduling of material handling required for the operation of such a system, a topic that has received limited attention in academia. Manufacturing industries focus on full autonomy because of the rapid advancements in different elements of Industry 4.0 such as the internet of things, big data and cloud computing. In smart assembly systems, this autonomy aims at the integration of automated material handling equipment such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to robotic assembly line systems to ensure a reliable and flexible production system.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper tackles the problem of designing a balanced robotic assembly line and the scheduling of AGVs to feed materials to these lines such that the cycle time and total tardiness of the assembly system are minimized. Because of the combination of two well-known complex problems such as line balancing and material handling and a heuristic- and metaheuristic-based integrated decision approach is proposed.

Findings

A detailed computational study demonstrates how an integrated decision approach can serve as an efficient managerial tool in designing/redesigning assembly line systems and support automated transportation infrastructure.

Originality/value

This study is beneficial for production managers in understanding the main decisional steps involved in the designing/redesigning of smart assembly systems and providing guidelines in decision-making. Moreover, this study explores the material distribution scheduling problems in assembly systems, which is not yet comprehensively explored in the literature.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2020

Emre Cevikcan and Mehmet Bulent Durmusoglu

Rabbit chase (RC) is used as one of the most effective techniques in manufacturing systems, as such systems have high level of adaptability and increased productivity in…

Abstract

Purpose

Rabbit chase (RC) is used as one of the most effective techniques in manufacturing systems, as such systems have high level of adaptability and increased productivity in addition to providing uniform workload balancing and skill improving environment. In assembly systems, RC inspires the development of walking worker assembly line (WWAL). On the other hand, U-type assembly lines (UALs) may provide higher worker utilization, lower space requirement and more convenient internal logistics when compared to straight assembly lines. In this context, this study aims to improve assembly line performance by generating RC cycles on WWAL with respect to task assignment characteristics of UAL within reasonable walking distance and space requirement. Therefore, a novel line configuration, namely, segmented rabbit chase-oriented U-type assembly line (SRCUAL), emerges.

Design/methodology/approach

The mathematical programming approach treats SRCUAL balancing problem in a hierarchical manner to decrease computational burden. Firstly, segments are generated via the first linear programming model in the solution approach for balancing SRCUALs to minimize total number of workers. Then, stations are determined within each segment for forward and backward sections separately using two different pre-emptive goal programming models. Moreover, three heuristics are developed to provide solution quality with computational efficiency.

Findings

The proposed mathematical programming approach is applied to the light-emitting diode (LED) luminaire assembly section of a manufacturing company. The adaptation of SRCUAL decreased the number of workers by 15.4% and the space requirement by 17.7% for LED luminaire assembly system when compared to UAL. Moreover, satisfactory results for the proposed heuristics were obtained in terms of deviation from lower bound, especially for SRCUAL heuristics I and II. Moreover, the results indicate that the integration of RC not only decreased the number of workers in 40.28% (29 instances) of test problems in U-lines, but also yielded less number of buffer points (48.48%) with lower workload deviation (75%) among workers in terms of coefficient of variation.

Practical implications

This study provides convenience for capacity management (assessing capacity and adjusting capacity by changing the number of workers) for industrial SRCUAL applications. Meanwhile, SRCUAL applications give the opportunity to increase the capacity for a product or transfer the saved capacity to the assembly of other products. As it is possible to provide one-piece flow with equal workloads via walking workers, SRCUAL has the potential for quick realization of defects and better lead time performance.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, forward–backward task assignments in U-type lines have not been adapted to WWALs. Moreover, as workers travel overall the line in WWALs, walking time increases drastically. Addressing this research gap and limitation, the main innovative aspect of this study can be considered as the proposal of a new line design (i.e. SRCUAL) which is sourced from the hybridization of UALs and WWAL as well as the segmentation of the line with RC cycles. The superiority of SRCUAL over WWAL and UAL was also discussed. Moreover, operating systematic for SRCUAL was devised. As for methodical aspect, this study is the first attempt to solve the balancing problem for SRCUAL design.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 40 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Emre Cevikcan

Walking-worker assembly lines can be regarded as an effective method to achieve the above-mentioned characteristics. In such systems, workers, following each other, travel…

Abstract

Purpose

Walking-worker assembly lines can be regarded as an effective method to achieve the above-mentioned characteristics. In such systems, workers, following each other, travel workstations in sequence by performing all of the required tasks of their own product. As the eventual stage of assembly line design, efforts should be made for capacity adjustments to meet the demand in terms of allocating tasks to workers via assembly line balancing. In this context, the purpose of this study is to address the balancing problem for multi-model walking-worker assembly systems, with the aim of improving planning capability for such systems by means of developing an optimization methodology.

Design/methodology/approach

Two linear integer programming models are proposed to balance a multi-model walking-worker assembly line optimally in a sequential manner. The first mathematical programming model attempts to determine number of workers in each segment (i.e. rabbit chase loop) for each model. The second model generates stations in each segment to smooth workflow. What is more, heuristic algorithms are provided due to computational burden of mathematical programming models. Two segment generation heuristic algorithms and a station generation heuristic algorithm are provided for the addressed problem.

Findings

The application of the mathematical programming approach improved the performance of a tap-off box assembly line in terms of number of workers (9.1 per cent) and non-value-added time ratio (between 27.9 and 26.1 per cent for different models) when compared to a classical assembly system design. In addition, the proposed approach (i.e. segmented walking-worker assembly line) provided a more convenient working environment (28.1 and 40.8 per cent shorter walking distance for different models) in contrast with the overall walking-worker assembly line. Meanwhile, segment generation heuristics yielded reduction in labour requirement for a considerable number (43.7 and 49.1 per cent) of test problems. Finally, gaps between the objective values and the lower bounds have been observed as 8.3 per cent (Segment Generation Heuristic 1) and 6.1 (Segment Generation Heuristic 2).

Practical implications

The proposed study presents a decision support for walking-worker line balancing with high level of solution quality and computational performance for even large-sized assembly systems. That being the case, it contributes to the management of real-life assembly systems in terms of labour planning and ergonomics. Owing to the fact that the methodology has the potential of reducing labour requirement, it will present the opportunity of utilizing freed-up capacity for new lines in the start-up period or other bottleneck processes. In addition, this study offers a working environment where skill of the workers can be improved within reasonable walking distances.

Originality/value

To the best knowledge of the author, workload balancing on multi-model walking-worker assembly lines with rabbit chase loop(s) has not yet been handled. Addressing this research gap, this paper presents a methodology including mathematical programming models and heuristic algorithms to solve the multi-model walking-worker assembly line balancing problem for the first time.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 April 2010

Mohammad Kamal Uddin, Marian Cavia Soto and Jose L. Martinez Lastra

Design, balancing, and sequencing are the key issues associated with assembly lines (ALs). The purpose of this paper is to identify AL design issues and to develop an…

1727

Abstract

Purpose

Design, balancing, and sequencing are the key issues associated with assembly lines (ALs). The purpose of this paper is to identify AL design issues and to develop an integrated methodology for mixed‐model assembly line balancing (MMALB) and sequencing. Primarily, mixed‐model lines are utilized for high‐variety, low‐volume job shop or batch production. Variation of a generic product is important for the manufacturers as the demand is mostly customer driven in the present global market.

Design/methodology/approach

Different AL design norms, performance indexes, and AL workstation indexes have been identified in the initial stage of this work. As the paper progresses, it has focused towards an integrated approach for MMALB and sequencing addressed for small‐ and medium‐scale assembly plants. A small‐scale practical problem has been justified with this integrated methodology implemented by MATLAB.

Findings

ALs execution in the production floor require many important factors to be considered. Different line orientations, production approaches, line characteristics, performance and workstation indexes, problem definitions, balancing and product sequencing in accordance with the objective functions are needed to be taken into account by the line designer.

Originality/value

This paper has highlighted the important AL design characteristics and also provided an integrated approach for balancing mixed‐model assembly lines (MMALs) combined with sequencing heuristic. The findings of this paper can be helpful for the designers while designing an AL. The integrated approach for balancing and sequencing of MMALs can be used as a functional tool for assembly‐based contemporary industries.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 September 2020

Beikun Zhang and Liyun Xu

The increasing energy shortage leads to worldwide attentions. This paper aims to develop a mathematical model and optimization algorithm to solve the energy-oriented…

Abstract

Purpose

The increasing energy shortage leads to worldwide attentions. This paper aims to develop a mathematical model and optimization algorithm to solve the energy-oriented U-shaped assembly line balancing problem. Different from most existing works, the energy consumption is set as a major objective.

Design/methodology/approach

An improved flower pollination algorithm (IFPA) is designed to solve the problem. The random key encoding mechanism is used to map the continuous algorithm into discrete problem. The pollination rules are modified to enhance the information exchange between individuals. Variable neighborhood search (VNS) is used to improve the algorithm performance.

Findings

The experimental results show that the two objectives are in conflict with each other. The proposed methodology can help manager obtain the counterbalance between them, for the larger size balancing problems, and the reduction in objectives is even more significant. Besides, the experiment results also show the high efficiency of the proposed IFPA and VNS.

Originality/value

The main contributions of this work are twofold. First, a mathematical model for the U-shaped assembly line balancing problem is developed and the model is dual foci including minimized SI and energy consumption. Second, an IFPA is proposed to solve the problem.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 40 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1993

Mario Tabucanon and Wang Changli

Outlines the specific characteristics of semiautomatic productionlines which, in relative terms, are given less attention than othertypes of line. Suggests a methodology…

Abstract

Outlines the specific characteristics of semiautomatic production lines which, in relative terms, are given less attention than other types of line. Suggests a methodology for balancing such lines, making comparison thereof with the traditional method of line balancing. Applies the method to a case which is a typical semiautomatic line.

Details

Integrated Manufacturing Systems, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-6061

Keywords

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