A fuzzy control system for assembly line balancing with a three-state degradation process in the era of industry 4.0

Jiage Huo, J.H. Zhang, Tung Sun Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The assembly line balancing problem is always explored using the assumption that the processing ability of each workstation is constant. However, the initial workload balance can be easily broken by the changing processing condition of the machines, due to degradation. In the context of Industry 4.0, real-time information related to the machine health state is available. The aim is to improve the performance of the assembly process by making full use of the obtained real-time information. This research is the first exploration of real-time assembly line balancing with the changing health states of machines and the trigger point of adjustments to the assembly line. In this study, a fuzzy control system is developed to determine when to re-balance the assembly line and how to adjust the production rates to smooth the workloads of the workstations. The numerical results show that the assembly line with the proposed fuzzy control system satisfies the demand for most cases, and achieves higher utilisation of machines and lower buffer levels. Therefore, the real-time information brought by Industry 4.0 can be used to improve the performance of an assembly line.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7112-7129
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2020


  • Industry 4.0
  • assembly line balancing
  • fuzzy control system

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