Sadeghi, P; Rebelo, RD; Ferreira, JS;
COMPUTERS & INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING
This paper addresses new Mixed-model Assembly Line Balancing Problems (MALBP) in a real industrial context, the stitching systems of a footwear company. The work is part of large ongoing projects with this industry, and the main purposes are minimising the number of required workstations and smoothing the operators' workload. The company has invested in new flexible automated assembly systems, which accommodate dozens of workstations and many moving boxes. Footwear components are inside boxes (with various quantities) which can move from the warehouses to a convenient workstation or between any workstations (in any order). This is a significant and distinct feature of the MALBP, together with the fact that the assignment of different skilled operators and machines is achieved simultaneously. An optimisation model is developed, in part to facilitate the understanding of the situation and to solve small-size instances. Due to the complexity of the problems, we had to devise an approximate method, based on the Variable Neighbourhood Descent (VND) metaheuristic and integrating an adaptation of the Ranked Positional Weighted (RPW) method. The adapted RPW method is used to create initial feasible solutions, while preassigning special operators and machines. After choosing good initial solutions, VND is applied to improve their quality. The new contributed method, named as RPW-VNDbal, is tested with medium and large instances, in two distinct stitching systems. A Lower Bound of the objective function and Simulation contribute to evaluate the solutions and their practicability. The results implemented by the project team, show that the RPW-VNDbal method is fast enough and offers better solutions than those implemented by the experienced operation managers of the company.
Sadeghi, P; Rebelo, RD; Soeiro Ferreira, J;
IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
Portuguese footwear industry has improved dramatically to become one of the main world players. This work is part of a project in cooperation with a large footwear company, operating a new automated assembly equipment, integrating various lines. Balancing such lines implies going from an almost manual preparation executed by experienced operators, to a planning supported by optimisation systems. These complex mixed-model lines have distinctive characteristics, which make balancing a unique problem. The paper proposes the ASBsm – Assembly System Balancing Solution Method, a new method that integrates a constructive heuristic and an improvement heuristic, which takes inspiration from Tabu Search. The solutions obtained, based on real instances, are quite encouraging when compared with other effected factory solutions. Consequently, the balances obtained by ASBsm are now being implemented and articulated with sequencing methods. © IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017.
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