In this paper we consider the so-called type-I assembly line balancing problem (ALBP-I), in which the objective is to minimize the number of workstations needed for a given cycle time. ALBP-I is one of the well-known NP-hard problems in operations management, and many optimal approaches (including 0-1 integer programming model, branch and bound algorithm, dynamic programming model, etc.) have been developed during the past decades. However, all optimal approaches share the disadvantage of being computationally inefficient in solving large-scale problems, and which makes heuristics a necessity in practice. We propose in this paper a new approach, based on the recently proposed bidirectional heuristic and the critical path method (CPM) of project management, to resolve the issue of task assignment for ALBP-I. A numerical example is given for illustration, and several sample problems are solved to show the effectiveness of the proposed approach.
Journal of the Chinese Institute of Industrial Engineers=工業工程學刊 25(6), pp.481-487