Simulation as a Means of Solving the Buffer Capacity Problem for Flow Line Production

  • Alyson Wood
  • Rob Pooley
  • Lyn Thomas
Part of the Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems book series (LNE, volume 445)


A flow-line, is a production line that is arranged as a series of stations in tandem. The throughput of the line is governed by the speed of the machines, the amount of work performed by each machine, and the buffer space between the machines. The bowl-phenomenon occurs if the throughput of the flow-line can be increased by allocating resources such as processing capacity or buffer space unequally with more resources in the centre of the line and less towards the two ends. The problem addressed principally in this paper, is that of designing the best flow line, by allocating resources to the stations so as to minimise the average time in the system per customer (sojourn time) and therefore maximise the throughput of the system. The effects of varying buffer allocations are investigated by building a discrete event simulation model of the system, the primary aim being to provide implementable and practical rules for flow-line design. The results show that the choice of buffer allocations is dependent to some extent on the arrival process. These results are then formalised as rules which serve as practical guidelines in flow-line design. The work is related to further simulations of the effects of processing rates per station which showed that these had a dominant effect and allowed combined rules to be established.


Arrival Process Flow Shop Service Time Distribution Buffer Space Discrete Event Simulation Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alyson Wood
    • 1
  • Rob Pooley
    • 1
  • Lyn Thomas
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of EdinburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Business StudiesUniversity of EdinburghUSA

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