1 Introduction</h5> In production systems of automobile manufacturers, multi-variant products are assembled on paced mixed-model assembly lines flexible enough to manufacture all products in an intermixed sequence. These variations might result from different product models (car models like, e.g., Passat and Golf at Volkswagen) and/or from different product options (like manual, automatic or no sunroof). Due to a large number of combinable options offered, incredibly large numbers of product variants can be demanded by customers such that, typically, none of the car orders is identical to another one per shift, day or even month (cf., e.g., Boysen, Fliedner, and Scholl (2008) ).</P>Following the principle of flow production, assembly lines are divided into successional stations , which are connected by a steadily moving conveyor belt or another mechanical transportation mechanism. The product units to be assembled are launched down the line at a fixed rate such that they are accessible to each of the stations for a fixed time span (on average), called cycle time c. At each station, one or more workplaces are installed. Usually, up to four workplaces are assigned to different mounting areas of the car body which, thus, can operate independently of each other in
European Journal of Operational Research – Elsevier
Published: Jun 16, 2014
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