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Formulation and a Simulation-Based Algorithm for Line-Side Buffer Assignment Problem in Systems of General Assembly Line With Material Handling

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5 Author(s)
Chao-Bo Yan ; Dept. of Autom., Tsinghua Univ., Beijing, China ; Qianchuan Zhao ; Ningjian Huang ; Guoxian Xiao
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In systems of general assembly line with material handling, line-side buffers need to be carefully assigned to a limited number of material delivers (drivers) for part delivery to avoid production stoppage due to material shortage. Such a problem is referred to as line-side buffer assignment problem (LBAP). In this paper, we focus on fixed zoning version of LBAP. We formulate the problem, prove its NP-hardness, and propose an algorithm based on two structural characteristics of the LBAP problem-one being the analogousness between our problem and the parallel machine scheduling (PMS) problem and the other being the monotonicity of the system throughput in the course of assigning line-side buffers to drivers. The developed algorithm globally converges with probability one when there exist feasible assignments. The algorithm is tested on a real system, and the results show that it is effective for solving the LBAP problem.

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Automation Science and Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:7 ,  Issue: 4 )