Simple heuristics for the assembly line worker assignment and balancing problem
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We propose simple heuristics for the assembly line worker assignment and balancing problem. This problem typically occurs in assembly lines in sheltered work centers for the disabled. Different from the well-known simple assembly line balancing problem, the task execution times vary according to the assigned worker. We develop a constructive heuristic framework based on task and worker priority rules defining the order in which the tasks and workers should be assigned to the workstations. We present a number of such rules and compare their performance across three possible uses: as a stand-alone method, as an initial solution generator for meta-heuristics, and as a decoder for a hybrid genetic algorithm. Our results show that the heuristics are fast, they obtain good results as a stand-alone method and are efficient when used as a initial solution generator or as a solution decoder within more elaborate approaches.
KeywordsAssembly lines Disabled workers Heuristic approaches Hybrid genetic algorithm
This research was supported by the Brazilian Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brazil) and by Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Brazil). This support is gratefully acknowledged. The authors are also thankful to two anonymous referees and to the Associate Editor whose comments have helped improve the quality of this paper.
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