Intelligent workload balance control of the assembly process considering condition-based maintenance

Jiage Huo, Carman K.M. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Balancing the workloads of workstations is key to the efficiency of an assembly line. However, the initial balance can be broken by the changing processing abilities of machines because of machine degradation, and at some point, re-balancing of the line is inevitable. Nevertheless, the impacts of unexpected events on assembly line re-balancing are always ignored. With the advanced sensor technologies and Internet of Things, the machine degradation process can be monitored continuously, and condition-based maintenance can be implemented to improve the health state of each machine. With the technology of robotic process automation, workflows of the assembly process can be smoothed and workstations can work autonomously together. A higher level of process automation can be achieved. Real-time information of the processing abilities of machines will bring new opportunities for automated workload balance via adaptive decision-making. In this study, a fuzzy control system is developed to make real-time decisions to balance the workloads based on the processing abilities of workstations, given the policy of condition-based maintenance. Fuzzy controllers are used to decide whether to re-balance the assembly line and how to adjust the production rate of each workstation. The numerical experiments show that the buffer level of the assembly line with the proposed fuzzy control system is lower than that of the assembly line without any control system and the buffer level of the assembly line with another control system is the lowest. The demand can always be satisfied by assembly lines except the one with another control system since there is too much production loss sacrificed for the low buffer level. The sensitivity analysis of the control performance to the parameter settings is also conducted. Thus, the effectiveness of the proposed fuzzy control system is demonstrated, and intelligent automation can improve the performance of the assembly process by the fuzzy control system since real-time information of the assembly line can be used for adaptive decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101341
JournalAdvanced Engineering Informatics
Volume49
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Assembly line re-balancing
  • Condition-based maintenance
  • Fuzzy control system
  • Intelligent automation
  • Machine degradation
  • Robotic process automation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence

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