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A Comparative Evaluation of Heuristic Line Balancing Techniques

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Author Info

  • F. Brian Talbot

    (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)

  • James H. Patterson

    (Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47401)

  • William V. Gehrlein

    (University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19711)

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    Abstract

    In this paper, we report on a computational experiment designed to assess the efficacy of 26 heuristic decision rules which group work tasks into work stations along an assembly line such that the number of work stations required is minimized. The heuristic decision rules investigated vary from simple list processing procedures that consider a single attribute of each work task for assignment, to procedures which are optimal seeking, but which have had their search terminated through the imposition of a limit on the amount of computation time that can be devoted to each search. Also included are heuristic decision rules which backtrack in an attempt to locate an improved solution, and decision rules which probabilistically search for improved solutions. Our investigation differs from those reported previously, in that the objective in balancing each line is to determine the minimum number of work stations for a given limit on the time available for assembly at each work station (the cycle time). Previous approaches have investigated the problem of determining the minimum cycle time for a given line length. We also compare the results obtained with the optimal solution for a subset of the problems investigated. Both problems which have appeared in the open literature and problems which have been solved for the first time are included. Because a portion of our results differ from those reported previously, we suggest why these differences have occurred. Guidelines are also given to those balancing industrial assembly lines on the choice of the heuristic decision rule to use whether one is attempting to obtain a minimum station balance given a limit on the time available for assembly at each work station, or whether one is attempting to minimize the time devoted to assembly at a work station given a limit on the number of work stations available.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 32 (1986)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 430-454

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:32:y:1986:i:4:p:430-454

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    Related research

    Keywords: production/scheduling: line balancing; networks/graphs: applications; facilities/equipment planning: design;

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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Chiang, Wen-Chyuan & Urban, Timothy L., 2006. "The stochastic U-line balancing problem: A heuristic procedure," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 175(3), pages 1767-1781, December.
    2. Aase, Gerald R. & Olson, John R. & Schniederjans, Marc J., 2004. "U-shaped assembly line layouts and their impact on labor productivity: An experimental study," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 156(3), pages 698-711, August.
    3. Fatih Ugurdag, H. & Rachamadugu, Ram & Papachristou, Christos A., 1997. "Designing paced assembly lines with fixed number of stations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 488-501, November.
    4. Gamberini, Rita & Grassi, Andrea & Rimini, Bianca, 2006. "A new multi-objective heuristic algorithm for solving the stochastic assembly line re-balancing problem," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 226-243, August.
    5. Rubinovitz, J. & Levitin, G., 1995. "Genetic algorithm for assembly line balancing," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1-3), pages 343-354, October.
    6. Konstantinidis, Peter D., 1998. "A model to optimize project resource allocation by construction of a balanced histogram," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 559-571, February.
    7. Fleszar, Krzysztof & Hindi, Khalil S., 2003. "An enumerative heuristic and reduction methods for the assembly line balancing problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 145(3), pages 606-620, March.
    8. Lee, Hyoung-Ro & Gemmill, Douglas D., 2001. "Improved methods of assembly sequence determination for automatic assembly systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 131(3), pages 611-621, June.
    9. Sabuncuoglu, Ihsan & Erel, Erdal & Alp, Arda, 2009. "Ant colony optimization for the single model U-type assembly line balancing problem," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 287-300, August.
    10. Bautista, Joaquín & Pereira, Jordi, 2011. "Procedures for the Time and Space constrained Assembly Line Balancing Problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 212(3), pages 473-481, August.
    11. Armin Scholl & Christian Becker, 2003. "State-of-the-art exact and heuristic solution procedures for simple assembly line balancing," Jenaer Schriften zur Wirtschaftswissenschaft 20/2003, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    12. Simon Emde & Nils Boysen & Armin Scholl, 2008. "Balancing mixed-model assembly lines: a computational evaluation of objectives to smoothen workload," Jena Research Papers in Business and Economics - Working and Discussion Papers 17/2008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration.
    13. Bautista, Joaquín & Pereira, Jordi, 2009. "A dynamic programming based heuristic for the assembly line balancing problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 194(3), pages 787-794, May.
    14. Amen, Matthias, 2001. "Heuristic methods for cost-oriented assembly line balancing: A comparison on solution quality and computing time," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 255-264, February.
    15. Bautista, Joaquin & Pereira, Jordi, 2007. "Ant algorithms for a time and space constrained assembly line balancing problem," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 177(3), pages 2016-2032, March.
    16. Battaïa, Olga & Dolgui, Alexandre, 2013. "A taxonomy of line balancing problems and their solutionapproaches," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 259-277.
    17. Scholl, Armin & Klein, Robert, 1999. "Balancing assembly lines effectively - A computational comparison," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 114(1), pages 50-58, April.
    18. Bukchin, Joseph & Masin, Michael, 2004. "Multi-objective design of team oriented assembly systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 156(2), pages 326-352, July.
    19. Otto, Alena & Otto, Christian & Scholl, Armin, 2013. "Systematic data generation and test design for solution algorithms on the example of SALBPGen for assembly line balancing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 228(1), pages 33-45.
    20. Vilà, Mariona & Pereira, Jordi, 2013. "An enumeration procedure for the assembly line balancing problem based on branching by non-decreasing idle time," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 229(1), pages 106-113.
    21. Miltenburg, John, 1998. "Balancing U-lines in a multiple U-line facility," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 109(1), pages 1-23, August.
    22. Nils Boysen & Malte Fliedner & Armin Scholl, 2006. "Assembly line balancing: Joint precedence graphs under high product variety," Jenaer Schriften zur Wirtschaftswissenschaft 34/2006, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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