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Summary of a Heuristic Line Balancing Procedure


  • Fred M. Tonge

    (Mathematics Division, The RAND Corporation)


This paper presents a heuristic procedure for balancing production assembly lines and a computer program for carrying out that procedure. This research was undertaken to investigate the application of complex information processing techniques (as used in producing the Chess Machine and Logic Theorist) to a typical industrial problem. The assembly line balancing problem is stated as: Given an assembly process made up of elemental tasks, each with a time required per unit of product and an ordering with other tasks, what is the least number of work stations needed to attain a desired production rate? The heuristic procedure for assembly line balancing consists of three phases: (a) repeated simplification of the initial problem by grouping adjacent elemental tasks into compound tasks; (b) solution of the simpler problems thus created by assigning tasks to work stations at the least complex level possible, breaking up the compound tasks into their elements only when necessary for a solution; (c) smoothing the resulting balance by transferring tasks among work stations until the distribution of assigned time is as even as possible. The heuristics used in each phase are considered in some detail. Appropriate means for mechanizing such a procedure are discussed, and operating results of the program on actual problems are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Fred M. Tonge, 1960. "Summary of a Heuristic Line Balancing Procedure," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 7(1), pages 21-42, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:7:y:1960:i:1:p:21-42

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Becker, Christian & Scholl, Armin, 2009. "Balancing assembly lines with variable parallel workplaces: Problem definition and effective solution procedure," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 199(2), pages 359-374, December.
    3. Kucukkoc, Ibrahim & Zhang, David Z., 2014. "Mathematical model and agent based solution approach for the simultaneous balancing and sequencing of mixed-model parallel two-sided assembly lines," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 314-333.
    4. 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, vol. 168(3), pages 666-693, February.
    5. Qiuhua Tang & Yanli Liang & Liping Zhang & Christodoulos A. Floudas & Xiaojun Cao, 2016. "Balancing mixed-model assembly lines with sequence-dependent tasks via hybrid genetic algorithm," Journal of Global Optimization, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 83-107, May.

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