Alvarez-Miranda, E., Chace, S., & Pereira, J. (2021). Assembly line balancing with parallel workstations. Int. J. Prod. Res., 59(21), 6486–6506.
Abstract: The simple assembly line balancing problem (SALBP) considers work division among different workstations of a serially arranged assembly process to maximise its efficiency under workload (cumulative) and technological (precedence) constraints. In this work, we consider a variant of the SALBP which allows parallel workstations. To study the effect of parallel stations, we propose a new problem (the parallel station assembly line balancing problem or PSALBP) in which the objective is to minimise the number of parallel stations required to obtain the maximum theoretical efficiency of the assembly process. We study the complexity of the problem and identify a polynomially solvable case. This result is then used as a building block for the development of a heuristic solution procedure. Finally, we carry out a computational experiment to identify the characteristics of assembly lines that may benefit from station paralleling and to evaluate the performance of the proposed heuristic.