Minimising utility work and utility worker transfers for a mixed-model assembly line

Çevikcan E., Durmuşoğlu M. B.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PRODUCTION RESEARCH, vol.49, no.24, pp.7293-7314, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Mixed-model assembly lines (MMALs) are types of production lines that are able to respond to diversified costumers' demand for a variety of models without holding large inventories. The effective utilisation of a mixed-model assembly line requires the determination of the assembly sequence for different models. In this paper, two objectives are considered in a sequential manner, namely minimising: (i) total utility work, which means work from an additional worker to assist an operator for completion of an assembly task; and (ii) utility worker transfer which states the move of a utility worker to a different segment of the assembly line. First, due to the NP-hard nature of the problem, three heuristic methods are proposed with the aim of minimising total utility work. Then, the solutions which are obtained from the heuristics are improved in terms of the total number of utility worker transfers via a local search based method. Furthermore, the solution approach was applied in a real life mixed model tractor assembly line. Results validated the effectiveness of sequencing approach in terms of solution quality.