HANDLING PRODUCT VARIETY IN A MIXED-PRODUCT ASSEMBLY LINE: A CASE STUDY
Editor: Christian Weber, Stephan Husung, Marco Cantamessa, Gaetano Cascini, Dorian Marjanovic, Serena Graziosi
Author: Asadi, Narges; Jackson, Mats; Fundin, Anders
Institution: Maelardalen University, Sweden
Section: Design for X, Design to X
In today s fast-changing global market, using mixed-product assembly lines (MPALs) and mixed-model assembly lines (MMALs) allows manufacturing companies to be flexible and to maintain their competitive edge through product variety. Balancing and sequencing issues have been recognized as the main challenges of MPALs and MMALs, but other practical needs of MPALs remain unclear. Recognizing the practical needs of MPALs helps in identifying related requirements for product design, leading to products that closely align with the MPAL concept. The objective of this paper is to offer an industrial perspective on the needs of MPALs and to identify its requirements vis-à-vis product design. To achieve this objective, a single real-time case study in a heavy-vehicle-manufacturing company has been performed. The results from this industrial case study suggest that in order to handle product variety in MPALs and to reduce the related complexity, certain dimensions of flexibility need to be created in the assembly system, and requirements related to product design should be considered simultaneously in order to support assembly processes.