A new diversity induction mechanism for a multi-objective ant colony algorithm to solve a real-world time and space assembly line balancing problem
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Time and space assembly line balancing considers realistic multi-objective versions of the classical assembly line balancing industrial problems. It involves the joint optimisation of conflicting criteria such as the cycle time, the number of stations, and/or the area of these stations. The different problems included in this area also inherit the precedence constraints and the cycle time limitations from assembly line balancing problems. The presence of these hard constraints and their multi-criteria nature make these problems very hard to solve. Multi-objective constructive metaheuristics (in particular, multi-objective ant colony optimisation) have demonstrated to be suitable approaches to solve time and space assembly line balancing problems. The aim of this contribution is to present a new mechanism to induce diversity in an existing multi-objective ant colony optimisation algorithm for the 1/3 variant of the time and space assembly line balancing problem. This variant is quite realistic in the automative industry as it involves the joint minimisation of the number and the area of the stations given a fixed cycle time limit. The performance of our proposal is validated considering ten real-like problem instances. Moreover, the diversity induction mechanism is also tested on a real-world instance from the Nissan plant in Barcelona (Spain).
KeywordsTime and space assembly line balancing problem Ant colony optimisation Multi-objective optimisation Automotive industry
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