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Balancing and scheduling human-robot collaborated assembly lines with layout and objective consideration

  • Nourmohammadi, Amir
  • Fathi, Masood
  • Ng, Amos H. C.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
DOI: 10.1016/j.cie.2023.109775
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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The recent Industry 4.0 trend, followed by the technological advancement of collaborative robots, has urged many industries to shift towards new types of assembly lines with human-robot collaboration (HRC). This type of manufacturing line, in which human skill is supported by robot agility, demands an integrated balancing and scheduling of tasks and operators among the stations. This study attempts to deal with these joint problems in the straight and U-shaped assembly lines while considering different objectives, namely, the number of stations (Type-1), the cycle time (Type-2), and the cost of stations, operators, and robot energy consumption (Type-rw). The latter type often arises in the real world, where multiple types of humans and robots with different skills and energy levels can perform the assembly tasks collaboratively or in parallel at stations. Additionally, practical constraints, namely robot tool changes, zoning, and technological requirements, are considered in Type-rw. Accordingly, different mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) models for straight and U-shaped layouts are proposed with efficient lower and upper bounds for each objective. The computational results validate the efficiency of the proposed MILP model with bounded objectives while addressing an application case and different test problem sizes. In addition, the analysis of results shows that the U-shaped layout offers greater flexibility than the straight line, leading to more efficient solutions for JIT production, particularly in objective Type-2 followed by Type-rw and Type-1. Moreover, the U-shaped lines featuring a high HRC level can further enhance the achievement of desired objectives compared to the straight lines with no or limited HRC.

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