Soft Computing

, Volume 21, Issue 22, pp 6881–6894 | Cite as

A modified ant colony optimization algorithm for multi-objective assembly line balancing

Methodologies and Application


In this paper, a novel ant colony optimization algorithm called modified ant colony optimization algorithm (MACO) is proposed for multi-objective single-model assembly line balancing problem (SALBP). The proposed MACO presents a novel heuristic information combined with subsequent task number and deviation time that can guide ants to find better solutions for SALBP. The proposed MACO also adopts three assignment methods (i.e., forward, backward and local rebalancing assignment methods) and stratified sequential algorithm combined with Pareto-optimal front as multi-objective decision. The objectives of SALBP are to minimize the number of workstations, maximize assembly line efficiency and minimize workload variation among workstations. In the latter part of the paper, the proposed MACO has been applied to solve Scholl benchmark problems which include both small-size and large-size problems. The performance of the proposed MACO has been compared with the multi-objective genetic algorithm and the multiple assignment genetic algorithm and has obtained improved results in many test problems.


Ant colony optimization algorithm Assembly line balancing Multi-objective Heuristic information 



This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51275104) and supported in part by the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education (No. 20132304120021).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors Yu-guang Zhong and Bo Ai declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Mechanical and Electrical EngineeringHarbin Engineering UniversityHarbinChina

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