IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Optimally Balancing Large Assembly Lines with "Fable"

Listed author(s):
  • Roger V. Johnson

    (School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109)

Registered author(s):

    A new algorithm for optimally balancing assembly lines is formulated and tested. Named "FABLE," it obtains proven optimal solutions for ten 1000 task lines, which each possess the computationally favorable conditions of an average of at least 6 tasks per work station and a small number of between-task precedence requirements, in less than 20 seconds of IBM 3033U CPU time for each problem. FABLE also performs very favorably on a benchmark group of 64 test problems drawn from the literature, which are of up to 111 tasks each. FABLE finds and proves an optimal solution to the 64 problems in a total of 3.16 seconds of IBM 3090 CPU time. FABLE is a `laser' type, depth-first, branch-and-bound algorithm, with logic designed for very fast achievement of feasibility, ensuring a feasible solution to any line of 1000 or even more tasks. It utilizes new and existing dominance rules and bound arguments. A total of 549 problems of various characteristics are solved to determine conditions under which FABLE performs most and least favorably. Performance is sensitive to average number of tasks per work station, number of between-task precedence requirements (measured by `order strength'), and the total number of tasks per problem. A heuristic variant of FABLE is also described.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 34 (1988)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 240-253

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:34:y:1988:i:2:p:240-253
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA

    Phone: +1-443-757-3500
    Fax: 443-757-3515
    Web page:

    More information through EDIRC

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:34:y:1988:i:2:p:240-253. 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)

    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.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.