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Balancing mixed-model assembly lines: a computational evaluation of objectives to smoothen workload

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Author Info

  • Simon Emde

    ()
    (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Nils Boysen

    ()
    (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

  • Armin Scholl

    ()
    (School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena)

Abstract

Mixed-model assembly lines are widely used in a range of production settings, such as the final assembly of the automotive and electronics industries, where they are applied to mass-produce standardised commodities. One of the greatest challenges when installing and reconfiguring these lines is the vast product variety modern mixed-model assembly lines have to cope with. Traditionally, product variety is bypassed during mid-term assembly line balancing by applying a joint precedence graph, which represents an (artificial) average model and serves as the input data for a single model assembly line balancing procedure. However, this procedure might lead to considerable variations in the station times, so that serious sequencing problems emerge and work overload threatens. To avoid these difficulties, different extensions of assembly line balancing for workload smoothing, i.e. horizontal balancing, have been introduced in the literature. This paper presents a multitude of known and yet unknown objectives for workload smoothing and systematically tests these measures in a comprehensive computational study. The results suggest that workload smoothing is an essential task in mixed-model assembly lines and that some (of the newly introduced) objectives are superior to others.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207540902810577
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration in its series Jena Research Papers in Business and Economics - Working and Discussion Papers with number 17/2008.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Publication status: Published in: International Journal of Production Research 48/11 (2010), 3173-3191.
Handle: RePEc:jen:jenjbe:2008-17

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Related research

Keywords: Mixed-model assembly lines; assembly line balancing; sequencing; workload smoothing;

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References

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  1. Nils Boysen & Malte Fliedner & Armin Scholl, 2006. "A classification of assembly line balancing problems," Jenaer Schriften zur Wirtschaftswissenschaft 12/2006, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  2. Decker, Maria, 1993. "Capacity smoothing and sequencing for mixed-model lines," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 31-42, July.
  3. Sawik, Tadeusz, 2002. "Monolithic vs. hierarchical balancing and scheduling of a flexible assembly line," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 115-124, November.
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  5. Becker, Christian & Scholl, Armin, 2006. "A survey on problems and methods in generalized assembly line balancing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 168(3), pages 694-715, February.
  6. 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.
  7. Meyr, H., 2004. "Supply chain planning in the German automotive industry," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 36062, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
  8. Scholl, Armin & Becker, Christian, 2006. "State-of-the-art exact and heuristic solution procedures for simple assembly line balancing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 168(3), pages 666-693, February.
  9. Li-Hui Tsai, 1995. "Mixed-Model Sequencing to Minimize Utility Work and the Risk of Conveyor Stoppage," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 41(3), pages 485-495, March.
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  11. McMullen, Patrick R. & Frazier, Gregory V., 1997. "A heuristic for solving mixed-model line balancing problems with stochastic task durations and parallel stations," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 177-190, September.
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  14. Scholl, Armin & Klein, Robert, 1997. "SALOME. a bidirectional branch and bound procedure for assembly line balancing," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 7890, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
  15. Fatih Ugurdag, H. & Rachamadugu, Ram & Papachristou, Christos A., 1997. "Designing paced assembly lines with fixed number of stations," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 102(3), pages 488-501, November.
  16. Scholl, Armin, 1995. "Balancing and sequencing of assembly lines," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 9690, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
  17. Bock, Stefan & Rosenberg, Otto & Brackel, Thomas van, 2006. "Controlling mixed-model assembly lines in real-time by using distributed systems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 168(3), pages 880-904, February.
  18. F. Brian Talbot & James H. Patterson & William V. Gehrlein, 1986. "A Comparative Evaluation of Heuristic Line Balancing Techniques," Management Science, INFORMS, INFORMS, vol. 32(4), pages 430-454, April.
  19. Scholl, Armin & Klein, & Domschke, Wolfgang, 1998. "Pattern based vocabulary building for effectively sequencing mixed model assembly lines," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 9365, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
  20. Nils Boysen & Malte Fliedner & Armin Scholl, 2007. "Production Planning of Mixed-Model Assembly Lines: Overview and Extensions," Jena Research Papers in Business and Economics - Working and Discussion Papers, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration 06/2007, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration.
  21. Domschke, Wolfgang & Klein, Robert & Scholl, Armin, 1995. "Antizipative Leistungsabstimmung bei moderner Variantenfließfertigung," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 7468, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
  22. Kim, Yeo Keun & Kim, Jae Yun & Kim, Yeongho, 2006. "An endosymbiotic evolutionary algorithm for the integration of balancing and sequencing in mixed-model U-lines," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 168(3), pages 838-852, February.
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