Title: Balancing parallel assembly lines with disabled workers

Authors: Felipe F.B. Araújo; Alysson M. Costa; Cristóbal Miralles

Addresses: Instituto de Ciências Matemáticas e da Computação, Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos, SP, Brazil ' Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia ' ROGLE – Dpto. Organización de Empresas, Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, Spain

Abstract: In this paper, we study an assembly line balancing problem that occurs in sheltered worker centres for the disabled, where workers with very different characteristics are present. We are interested in the situation in which complete parallel assembly lines are allowed and name the resulting problem as parallel assembly line worker assignment and balancing problem (PALWABP). This approach enables many new possible worker-tasks assignments, what is beneficial in terms of both labour integration and productivity. We present a linear mixed-integer formulation and two heuristic solution methods: one is based on tabu search and the other is a biased random-key genetic algorithm (BRKGA). Computational results with a large set of instances recently proposed in the literature show the advantages of allowing such alternative line layouts. [Received 6 November 2013; Revised 14 February 2014; Accepted 26 March 2014]

Keywords: parallel assembly lines; assembly line balancing; heuristics; heterogeneous workers; disabled workers; task assignment; disabilities; labour integration; productivity; tabu search; biased random-key GAs; genetic algorithms.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIE.2015.069343

European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 2015 Vol.9 No.3, pp.344 - 365

Available online: 12 May 2015 *

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