IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Assembly Line Balancing with Processing Alternatives: An Application


  • Peter A. Pinto

    (Bowling Green State University)

  • David G. Dannenbring

    (Columbia University)

  • Basheer M. Khumawala

    (University of Houston)


The conventional approach to the assembly line balancing problem assumes that the manufacturing methods to be used have been predetermined. However, in practice the design engineer has several alternatives available in the choice of processing, typically involving a trade-off between labor or capital intensive options. The choice of manufacturing method is frequently viewed as an investment or capital budgeting decision, contrasting projected savings in labor cost with the additional fixed cost for the more capital intensive alternatives. The manufacturing tasks (based on the selected processing alternatives) are then assigned to work stations so as to minimize the number of work stations (i.e., labor costs) necessary to achieve a desired production rate. This paper describes a method of simultaneously considering both the choice of manufacturing alternatives and the assignment of tasks to stations so as to minimize total costs (labor and fixed) over the expected life of the production line. The importance of considering these decisions jointly results from the fact that the benefits obtained from specific manufacturing alternatives should not be limited to anticipated labor savings alone. The true measure of achievable labor savings can only be determined after an assignment of tasks to stations has been chosen. For instance, although a processing alternative may reduce the total work content of a set of tasks, if the resulting line balancing assignment does not reduce the number of stations required to achieve a desired production rate, the assumed savings will not be achievable and will serve only to increase the idle time of the line. On the other hand, an apparently trivial reduction in the time to complete a certain task may lead to a more efficiently balanced line, producing a much greater real savings in labor cost than had been anticipated, due to a reduction in both work content and idle time for the line. The combined processing alternative line balancing problem can be formulated as an integer programming problem. Two alternate formulations are provided which differ in the degree of flexibility in selecting a cycle time. A branch and bound procedure is described for the fixed cycle time situation which takes advantage of the special structure of the problem to provide an efficient method capable of solving problems of practical interest. The effectiveness of the proposed procedure is demonstrated by application to an actual redesign of an assembly line for a major auto-industry supplier.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter A. Pinto & David G. Dannenbring & Basheer M. Khumawala, 1983. "Assembly Line Balancing with Processing Alternatives: An Application," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(7), pages 817-830, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:29:y:1983:i:7:p:817-830

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jayaswal, Sachin & Agarwal, Prashant, 2013. "Balancing U-Shaped Assembly Lines with Resource Dependent Task Times: A Simulated Annealing Approach," IIMA Working Papers WP2013-11-06, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    2. Anulark Pinnoi & Wilbert E. Wilhelm, 1998. "Assembly System Design: A Branch and Cut Approach," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 44(1), pages 103-118, January.
    3. Boysen, Nils & Fliedner, Malte & Scholl, Armin, 2007. "A classification of assembly line balancing problems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 183(2), pages 674-693, December.
    4. Hsiu-Hsueh Kao & Din-Horng Yeh & Yi-Hsien Wang, 2011. "Resource Constrained Assembly Line Balancing Problem Solved with Ranked Positional Weight Rule," Review of Economics & Finance, Better Advances Press, Canada, vol. 1, pages 71-80, November.
    5. Armin Scholl & Nils Boysen & Malte Fliedner, 2008. "Optimally solving the Alternative Subgraphs Assembly Line Balancing Problem," Jena Research Papers in Business and Economics - Working and Discussion Papers (Expired!) 05/2008, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, School of Economics and Business Administration.
    6. Boysen, Nils & Fliedner, Malte, 2008. "A versatile algorithm for assembly line balancing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 184(1), pages 39-56, January.
    7. Boysen, Nils & Fliedner, Malte & Scholl, Armin, 2008. "Assembly line balancing: Which model to use when," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 509-528, February.
    8. Pinnoi, Anulark & Wilhelm, Wilbert E., 2000. "Valid inequalities for a class of assembly system problems," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 31-50, October.
    9. Gamberi, M. & Gamberini, R. & Manzini, R. & Regattieri, A., 2008. "An analytical model to evaluating the implementation of a batch-production-oriented line," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 729-740, February.
    10. repec:eee:ejores:v:263:y:2017:i:3:p:1033-1048 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Nils Boysen & Malte Fliedner & Armin Scholl, 2006. "Produktionsplanung bei Variantenfließfertigung: Planungshierarchie und Hierarchische Planung," Jenaer Schriften zur Wirtschaftswissenschaft (Expired!) 22/2006, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    12. Becker, Christian & Scholl, Armin, 2006. "A survey on problems and methods in generalized assembly line balancing," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 168(3), pages 694-715, February.
    13. Araújo, Felipe F.B. & Costa, Alysson M. & Miralles, Cristóbal, 2012. "Two extensions for the ALWABP: Parallel stations and collaborative approach," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 483-495.
    14. Jonathan Oesterle & Lionel Amodeo & Farouk Yalaoui, 0. "A comparative study of Multi-Objective Algorithms for the Assembly Line Balancing and Equipment Selection Problem under consideration of Product Design Alternatives," Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-26.
    15. Sotskov, Yuri N. & Dolgui, Alexandre & Portmann, Marie-Claude, 2006. "Stability analysis of an optimal balance for an assembly line with fixed cycle time," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 168(3), pages 783-797, February.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:29:y:1983:i:7:p:817-830. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.