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ISSN : 1598-7248 (Print)
ISSN : 2234-6473 (Online)
Industrial Engineering & Management Systems Vol.17 No.3 pp.531-549
DOI : https://doi.org/10.7232/iems.2018.17.3.531

Cellular Bucket Brigades with Worker Collaboration on U-Lines with Discrete Workstations

Aditya Tirta Pratama, Katsuhiko Takahashi*, Katsumi Morikawa, Keisuke Nagasawa, Daisuke Hirotani
Department of System Cybernetics, Graduate School of Engineering, Hiroshima University, Japan
Faculty of Management and Information Systems, Prefectural University of Hiroshima, Japan
* Corresponding Author, E-mail: takahasi@hiroshima-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Cellular bucket brigades (CBB) are a new design of bucket brigade that can reduce unproductive travel by workers on U-shaped production lines. With CBB, each worker works on one side of an aisle when proceeding in one direction, and on the other side when proceeding in the reverse direction; workers then exchange their work when they meet each other. The throughput of CBB may be reduced due to blocking and/or halting at discrete workstations. A method for countering these blocking/halting conditions is proposed here; it utilizes worker collaboration such that a maximum of two workers can collaborate on the same task. The collaboration velocity is proportional to the sum of individual worker velocities, and is influenced by the worker collaboration coefficient. The existing model and its assumptions are utilized here to compare the performance of CBB against worker collaboration on a three-station, twoworker U-line for which the difference collaboration coefficient and work content of the product at each station are deterministic. The results show that worker collaboration almost always outperforms CBB, except for certain cases in which each worker has a different velocity at different stations.

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