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Assembly-Line Balancing: A Valuable Tool for Increasing Efficiency

By : Joseph George Konnully

Coverage
1. 2. 3. What is assembly-line balancing? History 1st time introduces. How can assembly-line balancing be used in organization? 4. Unbalance Line and Its effect. 5. Balanced Line and its effect. 6. What are the steps in balancing an assembly line? 7. Example of assembly-line balancing. 8. Assembly-Line Balancing in the real world. 9. Assembly-Line Balancing by Digital Manufacturing. 10. Summary. 11. Suggested reading list.
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What is assembly-line balancing?


Assigning each task to a workstation within an assembly line in order to meet the required production rate and to achieve a minimum amount of idle time. Line balancing is the procedure in which tasks along the assembly line are assigned to work station so each has approximately same amount of work.

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History
Ford installs first moving assembly line 1913

In 1907, Henry Ford announced his goal for the Ford Motor Company: to create "a motor car for the great multitude." At that time, automobiles were expensive, custom-made machines.
Ford's engineers took the first step towards this goal by designing the Model T, a simple, sturdy car, offering no factory options -- not even a choice of color. The Model T, first produced in 1908, kept the same design until the last one -- number 15,000,000 -- rolled off the line in 1927. From the start, the Model T was less expensive than most other cars, but it was still not attainable for the "multitude."

Photo: Moving assembly line at Ford Motor Company's Michigan plant

How Can Assembly-Line Balancing Help Organization?


Increased efficiency Increased productivity

Potential increase in profits and decrease in costs

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Unbalance Line and Its effect


!?
Zzz Zzz

Work Station 1
10 sec

Work Station 2
40 sec

Work Station 3
15 sec

Work Station 4
15 sec

Overproduction! Generates waste

Undesirable waiting

High work load in some stages (Overburden) Maximizes wastes (over-processing, inventory, waiting, rework, transportation, motion) High variation Restrict one piece flow Maximizes Idle time rcsaini.blogspot.com Poor efficiency

Balanced Line and its effect


Work Station 1
25 sec

Work Station 2
25 sec

Work Station 3
20 sec

Work Station 4
15 sec

Promotes one piece flow Avoids excessive work load in some stages (overburden) Minimizes wastes (over-processing, inventory, waiting, rework, transportation, motion) Reduces variation Increased Efficiency rcsaini.blogspot.com Minimizes Idle time

Steps in Balancing an Assembly Line


1. 2. 3. 4. List the sequential relationships among tasks and then draw a precedence diagram. Calculate the required workstation cycle time. Calculate the theoretical minimum number of workstations. Choose a primary rule that will determine how tasks are to be assigned to workstations.

. . . more

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Steps in Balancing an Assembly Line Cont.


5. Beginning with the first workstation, assign each task, one at a time, until the sum of the task times is equal to the workstation cycle time or until no other tasks can be assigned due to sequence or time restrictions. 6. Repeat step 5 for the remaining workstations until all the tasks have been assigned to a workstation. 7. Evaluate the efficiency of the line balance. 8. Rebalance if necessary.

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing


Problem: The Model Z Bicycle is assembled in an assembly line. Four hundred bicycles are required each day. Production time per day is 420 minutes. Find the balance that minimizes the number of workstations, that stays within the workstation cycle time limitation, and that complies with task precedent constraints.

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


1. Building the Model Z Bicycle: Assembly Steps and Times
Task Task Time (in seconds) 50 16 14 Task Description Tasks that must precede A B

A B C

Connect the front tire to the bicycle frame. Insert the handle bar. Tighten handle bar with two screws and nuts.

D
E F

55
20 17

Connect the rear tire to the bicycle frame.


Position chain mechanism to the frame. Attach right hand brake to handle bar.

D C

G
H I J K

17
17 17 13 14 250

Attach left hand brake to handle bar.


Attach right side pedal. Attach left side pedal. Position chain onto chain mechanism. Attach seat post.
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C
E E F,G,H,I J
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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


1. List the sequential relationships among tasks and then

draw a precedence diagram.


Tasks A B C D Tasks that must precede A B Tasks E F G H Tasks that must precede D C C E Tasks I J K Tasks that must precede E F,G,H,I J

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


1. List the sequential relationships among tasks and then draw a precedence diagram.
50 sec. A 16 sec. B 14 sec.
C 17 sec. 13 sec. 17 sec. 55 sec. D 20 sec. H E 17 sec. I G J K 14 sec.

17 sec. F

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


2. Calculate the required workstation cycle time.
Convert minutes to seconds because task times are in seconds.

Production time per day Cycle = Time = Output per day

60 sec. X 420 min. = 420 bicycles

25,200 = 60 sec. 420

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


3. Calculate the theoretical minimum number of workstations.

Sum Total of Task Times

250 seconds

Number of = workstations

=
Cycle Time 60 seconds

= 3.97 = 4 (rounded up)

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


4. Choose a primary rule that will determine how tasks are to be assigned to workstations.
For this example, our primary rule is to prioritize tasks based on the largest number of following tasks. If there is a tie, our secondary rule is to prioritize tasks in the order of the longest task time. In general, select rules that prioritize tasks according to the largest number of followers or based on length of time.
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Task A

Number of Following Tasks 6

B or D
C or E F, G, H, or I J K

5
4 2 1 0
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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.

5. Beginning with the first workstation, assign each task, one at a time, until the sum of the task times is equal to the workstation cycle time or until no other tasks can be assigned due to sequence or time restrictions.
6. Repeat step 5 for the remaining workstations until all the tasks have been assigned to a workstation.

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


5 & 6. Balance made according to the Largest-Number-of-Following Tasks Rule.
Stations Task Task Time (in seconds) Number of Following Tasks 6 5 5 4 4 2 2 2 2 1 0 Remaining Unassigned Time 10 idle 5 idle 44 24 10 idle 43 26 9 idle 43 30 16 idle
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Feasible Remaining Tasks None None C, E C, H, I None G, H, I H, I, J None J K None

Task with Most Followers

Task with Longest Operating Time

Station 1 Station 2 Station 3

A D B E C F G H I J K

50 55 16 20 14 17 17 17 17 13 14

C, E C G, H, I H, I

Station 4

G, H, or I H or I

Station 5

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


5 & 6. Precedence Graph for Model Z Bicycle.
The five workstations are identified by color.
50 sec. A 16 sec. B 14 sec. C 17 sec. 13 sec. 17 sec. 55 sec. D 20 sec. H E 17 sec. I G J K 14 sec. 17 sec. F

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Example of Assembly-Line Balancing Cont.


7. Evaluate the efficiency of the line balance.

Sum Total of Task Times

250

Efficiency =
Actual Number of Workstations X Cycle Time

=
(5)(60)

= 0.83 or 83%

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Assembly-Line Balancing in the real world


The simple ALB problem approach is limited by some constraints: Balance on existing and operating lines.
Workstations have spatial constraints. Some workstations cannot be eliminated. Need to smooth workload among workstations.

Multiple operators per workstation.


Different paces among operators, different lead times within the same workstation.

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Assembly-Line Balancing in the real world(cont.)


Operator spatial constraints.
Different workstation imposed working positions. More than one task to be performed in what should be the space for one task.

Multiple Products.
Coping with different products, some operations are needed for some products but not for others. Some products can introduce peak times in some workstations.

Different task times performed in different shifts.


Particularly when introducing new employees or workers with some degree of incapacity.

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Assembly-Line Balancing by Digital Manufacturing


Build AL in virtual environment. Put Input data e.g. No.Assembly part, Task at each station and estimated time, Human ergonomics etc. Run the Virtual AL and find outcome. Make changes in AL in virtual world and find best ALB outcome. Build in real world.

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Assembly-Line Balancing by Digital Manufacturing Cont.


Advantages Time Saving. Money Saving (Time Is Money, make changes in virtual world). Simplifies complex assembly line balancing problems. Faster, easier, and more accurate than calculating by hand.

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Summary
1. Assembly-Line Balancing consists of assigning each task to a workstation to meet the required production rate and to achieve a minimum amount of idle time. Benefits of line balancing includes increased efficiency and increased productivity. Balance assembly line by determining sequential task relationships, the required workstation cycle time, the theoretical minimum number of workstations, workstation assignments, and assembly line efficiency. Digital Manufacturing Simplifies complex assembly line balancing problems with faster, easier, and more accurate than calculating by hand and its save time & money.
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Thank you

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