Enhancing the Largest Set Rule for Assembly Line Balancing Through the Concept of Bi-Directional Work Relatedness
Konstantinos N. Genikomsakis and Vassilios D. Tourassis
Department of Production Engineering and Management, School of Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, GR-67100, Kimmeria, Xanthi, Greece
The process of optimally assigning the timed tasks required to assemble a product to an ordered sequence of workstations is known as the Assembly Line Balancing (ALB) problem. Typical approaches to ALB assume a strict mathematical posture and mostly treat it as a combinatorial optimization problem with the objective of minimizing the idle time across the workstations, while satisfying precedence constraints. The actual nature of the tasks assigned is seldom taken into consideration. While this approach may yield satisfactory cycle time results on paper, it often leads to inconvenient task assignments in an actual work environment. It has been postulated in the literature that assigning groups of related tasks to the same workstation may lead to assembly lines that exhibit increased robustness in real-world situations at the expense of a slightly increased cycle time. The prototypical example of such an approach, Agrawal’s Largest Set Rule (LSR), utilizes backward work relatedness to assign a set of cohesive tasks to the proper workstation. In this paper, we enhance the performance of the original LSR algorithm through the concept of bi-directional work relatedness, where backward and forward relationships are taken into consideration for task assignments. The proposed concept leads to comparable cycle time and improved work relatedness. Applying this novel concept to a benchmark ALB problem demonstrates the feasibility and applicability of the proposed approach.
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