The Assembly Line Feeding Problem

What is assembly line feeding?

Speaking of an assembly line, many people think of a straight conveyer line with a defined pace, where workers mount parts on a product. This is true, however, a paced moving conveyer belt, as described, is a specific form of an assembly line. More generally spoken, an assembly line, or a so-called flow system, is an area where parts are assembled in a stepwise manner at consecutive stations in order to produce final products. In order to enable such systems to effectively assemble products, the required parts have to be provided to the work stations where they are needed.

The Assembly Line Feeding Problem (ALFP) focusses on this process of providing material to assembly lines. For that, every part has to be assigned to a line feeding policy, determining the flow of that part. The flow determines, among others, the number of parts handled simultaneously and the load carrier which is used. This may sound very easy but if this process is analyzed in detail a lot of decisions, subprocesses and assumptions have to be taken into account.

What is the purpose of this Website?

Because of the interaction between different aspects, the ALFP is not holistically understood. Many researchers are studying the problem and help to acquire insight in some of the sub-aspects. In order to help understanding the complex area of feeding assembly lines our intention for this website is to provide an overview of the existing knowledge and research articles in the domain. The information is primarily interesting to researchers but also to industry practitioners, students and everyone else who is interested in this area. We hope to provide useful information and tools to conduct your research more efficiently!