Intra-cell Manpower Transfers and Cell Loading in Labor-intensive Manufacturing Cells


Labor-intensive manufacturing cells consist of simple machines and equipment that require continuous operator attendance and involvement. Operators are often re-assigned to different machines when a new product is released to the cell. The main reason for this re-assignment is to maximize the output rate of the cell by balancing the flow of products through several machines with varying capacities. In this paper, first a product-sequencing problem with the objective of minimizing the total intra-cell manpower transfers is introduced. A three-phase hierarchical methodology is proposed to solve the problem optimally. Next, manpower transfer matrix values are modified considering the distances traveled among machines. In the second part of the paper, a machine-level-based similarity coefficient that uses the number of machines as a similarity measure is discussed. Later, these coefficients are used during the cell loading process to minimize makespan and also machine and space requirements. Manpower allocation decisions are made along with scheduling decisions that are critical in most labor-intensive manufacturing cells and both approaches are illustrated with an example problem.


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Cell Loading; Labor-Intensive Manufacturing Cells; Manpower Transfers

Document Type

Article - Journal

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