Designing an assembly line for modular products
Computers and Industrial Engineering
To respond to the challenge of agile manufacturing, companies are striving to provide a large variety of products at low cost. Product modularity has become an important issue. It allows to produce different products through combination of standard components. One of the characteristics of modular products is that they share the same assembly structure for many assembly operations. The special structure of modular products provides challenges and opportunities for operational design of assembly lines. In this paper, an approach for design of assembly lines for modular products is proposed. This approach divides the assembly line into two subassembly lines: a subassembly line for basic assembly operations and a subassembly line for variant assembly operations. The design of the subassembly line for basic operations can be viewed as a single product assembly line balancing problem and be solved by existing line balancing methods. The subassembly line for the variant operations is designed as a two-station flowshop line and is balanced by a two-machine flowshop scheduling method. A three-station flowshop line for a special structure of modular products is proposed and illustrated with an example.
Published Article/Book Citation
Computers and Industrial Engineering, 34:1 (1998) pp.37-52.