Workers’ rest allowance and smoothing of the workload in assembly lines
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational journal of production research. 2019 https://doi.org/10.1080/00207543.2019.1616847
Ergonomic aspects have a crucial role in manual assembly systems. They impact on the workers’ health, final product quality and productivity. For these reasons, there is the necessity to integrate them into the assembly line balancing phase as, whereas, only time and cost variables are considered. In this study, human energy expenditures are considered as ergonomic aspects and we integrate them, for the first time, into the assembly line balancing problem type 2 through the rest allowance evaluation. We consider as an objective function the minimization of the smoothness index. Firstly, a new optimal method based on mixed integer linear programming and a new linearization methodology are proposed. Then, a heuristic approach is introduced. To complete the study, a computational experimentation is presented to validate the mathematical model and to compare the methodologies proposed in terms of computational time, complexity and solution. Additionally, we provide a detailed analysis of the impact that rest allowance evaluation can have on productivity comparing the results obtained, taking into account the rest allowance integration before, during and after the assembly balancing process.