An analytic framework for sequencing mixed model assembly lines
The problem of sequencing mixed model assembly lines is characterized by a set of parameters whose values are dictated by the actual manufacturing environment. In some cases, it may be desirable to minimize the size of the facility, while in others, the throughput time is paramount. Important design considerations include operator schedules, the product mix, station boundaries, and the launching discipline. The intent of this paper is to present a common mathematical framework in which each possible variant can be addressed. By implication, a solution technique developed for one can be readily adopted for the others.Virtually all of the previous work on mixed model sequencing has focused on the development of heuristics. While these may work well in specific instances, it is difficult to assess their performance without a frame of reference. Moreover, they cannot be universally applied. In this paper, we show that it is possible to obtain optimal solutions at very little cost. The presentation is concerned with sequencing the minimum part set; however, experience indicates that much larger problems can be solved.