Department of Economics and Business Economics

Simon Emde

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

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  • Simon Emde
  • Nils Boysen, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
  • ,
  • Armin Scholl, Friedrich Schiller University Jena

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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Pages (from-to)3173-3191
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Assembly, Assembly line balancing, Assembly lines, Assembly planning, Assembly systems, Automated assembly, Flexible assembly, Sequencing

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