Design of flexible manpower line walk cycles for a fixed number of operators.
Flexible manpower lines (FMLs) are a form of flow process line in which operators are allocated 'walk cycles', i.e. a repetitive sequence in which to load and unload machine tools. The effective design of such lines is normally achieved with the expectation that operators without full walk cycles, i.e. those that do not require a full Takt time to accomplish, can complete their walk cycles at an adjoining FML. However, an alternative FML design strategy is possible in cases where no adjoining FML exists or it is not possible for operators to move between work areas. This strategy involves determining the minimum Takt time and the associated operator walk cycles at which the FML can operate under a fixed number of operators. To solve this type of problem, a genetic algorithm that make use of a novel crossover operator has been developed that can design FMLs. The genetic algorithm is capable of generating, for a specific Takt time and fixed number of operators, FMLs with high-quality, near-optimal operator walk cycles. Solutions for the fixed manpower case were then identified by performing multiple genetic algorithm runs to find the best walk cycles at various Takt times.
Citation : Stockton, D.J., Ardon-Fich, J.P. and Khalil, R.A. (2005) Design of flexible manpower line walk cycles for a fixed number of operators. International Journal of Production Research, 43(3), pp.583-596
ISSN : 0020-7543
Research Group : Manufacturing Research