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La Rochelle, France

Hudson S.,France Business School | Shaaban S.,Strategy and Organization | McNamara T.,France Business School
Journal of Manufacturing Systems | Year: 2015

This paper reports on the performance of unbalanced non-automated production lines, whose workstations differ in terms of their mean operation times and their degree of unreliability (failure and repair rates). Simulations are done of 5- and 8-station lines with 1, 2 and 6 buffer units. Statistical analysis shows that breakdown patterns have a significant effect in terms of throughput and average buffer level, leading to the conclusion that the study of unreliable unbalanced lines needs not only take into account overall line breakdown, but should consider where in the line failure occurs. © 2015 The Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source


Shaaban S.,Strategy and Organization | McNamara T.,France Business School | Hudson S.,France Business School
International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management | Year: 2015

This article studies the performance of unpaced serial production lines that are subject to breakdown and are imbalanced in terms of both of their processing time means (MTs) and buffer storage capacities (BCs). Simulation results show that the best pattern in terms of throughput (TR) is a balanced line. With respect to average buffer level (ABL), the best configuration is a monotone decreasing MT order, together with an ascending BC arrangement. Statistical analysis shows that BC, combined patterns of MT and BC imbalance, line length and degree of imbalance all contribute significantly to performance. Copyright © 2015 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd. Source


Shaaban S.,Strategy and Organization | McNamara T.,France Business School | Hudson S.,France Business School
Journal of Manufacturing Systems | Year: 2014

This paper investigates the benefits of deliberately unbalancing operation time means for unreliable non-automated production lines. The lines were simulated with various line lengths, buffer capacities, degrees of imbalance and patterns of imbalance. Data on two performance measures, namely throughput and average buffer level were gathered, analyzed and compared to a balanced line counterpart. A number of conclusions were made with respect to the ranking of configurations, as well as to the relationships among the independent design parameters and the dependent variables. It was found that the best configurations are a balanced line arrangement and a monotone decreasing order, with the first generally resulting in lower throughput and the second leading to lower average buffer levels than those of a balanced line. Preliminary results show that unbalanced lines cope well with unreliability. © 2014 The Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Source


McNamara T.,France Business School | Shaaban S.,Strategy and Organization | Hudson S.,France Business School
International Journal of Production Research | Year: 2013

This article presents the results of a study investigating the performance of unpaced unreliable production lines (i.e. subject to breakdown) that are unbalanced in terms of their buffer storage sizes. Simulation is carried out for five, eight and 10 station lines with mean buffer space set at two, four and six units. Buffer capacity is allocated in different configurations for each of these lines. Performance indicators on throughput, idle time and average buffer level are analysed using a range of statistical tools, and relationships between the independent and dependent variables are determined. Overall results show that the best patterns for unreliable lines in terms of generating higher throughput rates (or lower idle times) as compared to a balanced line are those where total available buffer capacity is allocated as evenly as possible between workstations. In contrast, concentrating more buffer capacity towards the end of the line gives best average buffer level results. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source


Shaaban S.,Strategy and Organization | McNamara T.,France Business School | Hudson S.,France Business School
Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management | Year: 2013

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the performance of unpaced unreliable production lines that are deliberately unbalanced in terms of their coefficients of variation (CVs). Design/methodology/approach - A series of simulation experiments were carried out for five and eight station lines with mean buffer space set at one, two, four and six units. CVs were allocated in 12 different configurations for each of these lines. Findings - The results show that the best unbalanced CV patterns in terms of throughput rates or idle times as compared to a balanced line counterpart are those where the steadiest stations are concentrated near the centre of the line. On the other hand, either concentrating the steadier operators towards the centre or close to the end of the line gives best average buffer level results. Practical implications - The results provide guidelines for production line managers when designing unpaced unbalanced lines depending on their performance aims. Originality/value - The investigation of the effects of unbalancing CVs in unreliable lines has not previously been studied and can provide insights into how best to place workstations with differing variability along the line. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Source

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