Title: Analysis of automotive body assembly system configurations for quality and productivity

Authors: S. Jack Hu, Kathryn E. Stecke

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Michigan, G.G. Brown Bldg., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109-2125, USA. ' University of Texas at Dallas, School of Management, Richardson, Texas 75083 0688, USA

Abstract: Traditional assembly systems for automotive bodies have been designed using serial configurations. Advancements in controls and other technologies allow implementation of alternative system configurations, such as parallel and hybrid configurations. These configurations offer improvements in productivity, but their performance with regard to quality, particularly dimensional variation, is not well understood. We show that trade-offs exist between quality and productivity for various configurations. The traditional serial assembly line offers the worst performance for both productivity and quality. Important factors that impact these measures are identified. Guidelines are developed to aid the selection of a system configuration that is appropriate for total system performance. [Received 30 April 2008; Revised 30 July 2008; Accepted 5 September 2008]

Keywords: assembly configuration; performance; quality; productivity; assembly systems; assembly errors; automotive body assembly; variation; automobile industry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMR.2009.026575

International Journal of Manufacturing Research, 2009 Vol.4 No.3, pp.281 - 305

Available online: 19 Jun 2009 *

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