The ASLBAL.lng Model

Assembly Line Balancing

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This model illustrates how to balance an assembly line in order to minimize its total cycle time. An assembly line cosists of a series of workstations in which each station performs one or more specialized tasks in the manufacture of a final product. The cycle time is the maximum time it takes any workstation to complete its assigned tasks. The goal in balancing an assembly line is to assign tasks to stations, so equal amounts of work are performed at each station. Improperly balanced assembly lines will experience bottlenecks--workstations with less work are forced to wait on preceding station which have more work assigned.

The problem is complicated further by prededence relations amongst the tasks, where some tasks must be completed before others may begin (e.g., when buiding a computer, installing the disk drives must precede putting on the outer casing). The assignment of tasks to workstations must obey the precedence relations.

For our example, we have eleven tasks (A through K) to assign to four stations (1 through4). We need to find an assignment of tasks to workstations that minimize the assembly line's cycle time.


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