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Variability propagation in manufacturing systems: the impact of the processing time distribution

  • Alfieri, Arianna
  • Castiglione, Claudio
  • Pastore, Erica
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
PORTO Publications Open Repository TOrino
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In manufacturing and service systems, the negative effects of variability propagation are usually addressed through approximation models and other tools, such as simulation and optimization algorithms. This paper investigates the conditions in which these approaches are ineffective, and considering only the mean and variance of the processing time distribution is misleading. A scenario analysis deepens the impacts of considering the entire processing time distribution (beyond its mean and variance) on the inter-departure times in balanced and unpaced lines modeled through Discrete Event Simulation. The results correlate the impacts on variability propagation of approximating the processing time distribution with system characteristics such as utilization levels, line sizes, and inter-arrival and processing time variability. Production planning approaches can benefit from these results to reduce variability propagation, particularly in flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems, largely adopted in Industry 4.0, that can highly influence processing time distributions by varying product mix and line configuration.

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