RFID-based wireless manufacturing for walking-worker assembly islands with fixed-position layouts

George Q. Huang, Y. F. Zhang, P. Y. Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

218 Citations (Scopus)


A walking-worker fixed-position flexible assembly line is a shop-floor where products are placed at work centres, the workers move from one work centre to another, and tools and components are brought to the work centre for assembly according to the process and production plan. Such assembly shop-floor configuration is not only suitable for producing large, bulky, heavy or fragile products, but also offers necessary flexibility and competitive operational efficiency for products of modest variety and production volumes. However, the shop-floor with a fixed-position assembly islands typically suffers from limited spaces at work centres and high dynamics of material and manpower flows in addition to common shop-floor problems. This paper presents an affordable solution to these problems by using wireless manufacturing (WM)-an emerging advanced manufacturing technology (AMT). WM relies substantially on wireless devices such as radio frequency identification(RFID) auto ID sensors and wireless information networks for the collection and synchronization of the real-time field data from manufacturing workshops. A simplified example is used to illustrate how to deploy WM technology for implementing the concept of Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing to reduce the shop-floor work-in-progress (WIP) inventories and smoothening their flows through real-time information visibility and traceability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-477
Number of pages9
JournalRobotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Assembly islands
  • Fixed-position layout
  • RFID/auto ID
  • WIP
  • Wireless manufacturing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • General Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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