Policy for Rearranging Workers for a Self-Balancing Production Line with Worker Learning
Daisuke Hirotani*, Katsumi Morikawa and Katsuhiko Takahashi
Faculty of Engineering, Hiroshima University, 1-4-1, Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima, 7398527, Japan
- *Corresponding Author:
- Daisuke Hirotani
Faculty of Engineering, Hiroshima University
Higashi-Hiroshima, 7398527, Japan
E-mail: [email protected]
Received August 22, 2013; Accepted September 25, 2013; Published December 15, 2014
Citation: Hirotani D, Morikawa K, Takahashi K (2014) Policy for Rearranging Workers for a Self-Balancing Production Line with Worker Learning. Ind Eng Manage 3:146. doi:10.4172/2169-0316.1000146
Copyright: © 2014 Hirotani D, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
In the traditional production lines such as assembly lines, each worker is usually assigned to a particular fixed position, and the speed of performing the task decreases until the worker masters the assigned work. However, when an imbalance in the speeds of the workers exists, any given worker can delay the overall work on the production line, and the production rate of the particular line will also decrease. To avoid this problem, the “Self-Balancing Production Line” was introduced. In this type of production line, each worker is assigned work dynamically so they can keep the production line balanced while satisfying the specific conditions. A previous paper studying worker learning has been published. When a worker learns, the speed of the worker can be increased. In that paper, the authors analyzed the conditions with and without passing and claimed that if passing is allowed, self-balancing of a production line can be achieved. However, even if the initial sequence is slowest to fastest (this is the best sequence for self-balance in the previous paper) and if passing is allowed, much more time is required to balance some conditions of speed and degree of learning (we call this the learning rate). Therefore, a new policy for rearranging workers that changes the sequence before passing should be considered for rapid balance of the production line. In this paper, the policy for rearranging workers that changes the sequence being learned is proposed, and to verify the policy, numerical experiments are performed under various conditions of speed and learning rate.