Title: Buffer allocation, equipment selection and line balancing optimisation in unreliable production lines

Authors: Nabil Nahas

Addresses: Departement d'Administration, Université de Moncton, Moncton (NB), Canada

Abstract: This paper presents an integrated optimisation model to simultaneously solve buffer allocation, equipment selection and line balancing problems in unreliable production line systems. The considered unreliable serial production line consists of m workstations and m − 1 intermediate buffers. The objective is to maximise the system throughput level. A decomposition method is used to estimate the production line throughput. The decision variables in the formulated optimal design problem are buffer levels, types of equipment and the sets of tasks assigned to the workstations. An efficient algorithm, based on the nonlinear threshold accepting algorithm (NLTA) is proposed to solve this problem. The efficiency of the proposed approach is compared to existing algorithms and first tested on a simple assembly line balancing type-2 problem (SALB-2). Here the objective is to minimise the cycle time with a fixed number of workstations. In the second numerical experiment, the integrated model is solved using the NLTA, and its performance is compared to that of the great deluge algorithm (GDA) through several numerical examples. [Received: 9 June 2018; Revised: 15 September 2018; Revised: 18 April 2019; Accepted: 2 August 2019]

Keywords: line balancing; buffer allocation problem; equipment selection; nonlinear threshold algorithm; great deluge algorithm.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIE.2020.105703

European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 2020 Vol.14 No.2, pp.217 - 246

Published online: 27 Feb 2020 *

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