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Traveling worker assembly line (re)balancing problem: Model, reduction techniques, and real case studies

Celso Gustavo Stall Sikora, Thiago Cantos Lopes and Leandro Magatão

European Journal of Operational Research, 2017, vol. 259, issue 3, 949-971

Abstract: The assembly line balancing problem arises from equally dividing the workload among all workstations. Several solution methods explore different variants of the problem, but no model includes all characteristics real assembly lines might contain. This paper presents a mixed integer linear programming model that solves the Traveling Worker Assembly Line Balancing Problem (TWALBP). In this problem, the tasks’ balancing along with the assignment of workers to one or more workstations is determined for a given layout. The assignment flexibility is solved with a traveling salesman problem formulation integrated in the balancing model. Adapted standard datasets and three real case scenarios are used as benchmark sets. These scenarios present particularities such as human and robotic workers, assignment restrictions, zoning constraints, automatic and common tasks. The model successfully determines the tasks’ assignments and the routing of every worker for a layout aware optimization of assembly lines. Better quality balancing solutions were achieved allowing workers to perform tasks at multiple stations, showing a trade-off between assignment flexibility and movement time.

Keywords: Combinatorial optimization; Assembly line rebalancing; Real-world application; Traveling salesman problem; Mixed integer linear programming (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:259:y:2017:i:3:p:949-971