The scope of this study is to explore the understanding of Production-line Manufacturing and Balancing, Types of Line Balancing, Equipment Balancing and its Failure and Analysis. A production line is said to be in balance when every worker’s task takes the same amount of time. Line balancing is a manufacturing-engineering function in which whole collection of production-line tasks are divided into equal portions. Well-balanced lines avoid labour idealness and improve productivity.
Production Line Balancing
Line-balancing strategy is to make production lines flexible enough to absorb external and internal irregularities. There are two types of line balancing, which we have explained as –
- Static Balance – Refers to long-term differences in capacity over a period of several hours or longer. Static imbalance results in underutilization of workstations, machines and people.
- Dynamic Balance – Refers to short-term differences in capacity, like, over a period of minutes, hours at most. Dynamic imbalance arises from product mix changes and variations in work time unrelated to product mix.
Labour Balancing and Assignments
Strategy of production line stability is the tendency for labour assignments to be fixed. Labour feasibility is an important feature in the strategy of production line flexibility linked to individual skills and capabilities –
- When one worker is having problem in performing his assigned task and experiencing delay due to technical problem(s), other worker(s) should move into help.
- The management practice of deliberately pulling worker’s of the line when the line is running smoothly.
- The movement of whole crews from one dedicated line to another as the model mix changes.
- Group Technology – In which one worker can handle variety of tasks (automation) in a single work centre.
While balancing equipment, attempt to ensure that each piece of equipment in the work cell has the same amount of work. Now days every manufacturer is attempting to maximize the utilization of all available equipments. Such high utilization is often counterproductive and may be the wrong goal because; high utilization is usually accompanied by high inventory.
An equipment failure is a major serious matter, with the potential to shut down a production line. To avoid such failures one should not overload the equipments, and workers should be trained to perform a daily machine checking (preventive maintenance) and following standard operating procedures. The advantage for Maintenance and Engineering Department does not lye in running late shifts, hence calculate the preventive maintenance time and schedule the activity.
Analysis is generally performed by Competent Technical Staff. Begin the analysis with division of production-line work into small tasks, determination of task time standards, specification of required task sequencing and notation of constraints. If bottle neck task is in the way of good balance, the Competent Technical Staff should analyze the task to reduce the time it takes to perform.
Line Balancing Leadership
Workmen should lead the production line balancing effort, so that they can react quickly when line imbalances (static and dynamic) crop up as a result of changeover to make a different item or changes in the output rate.
Production-line balancing study tends to employ thought and ingenuity to change conditions. Production-line design and operation is more art than science. Labour flexibility is the key to effective resource management. The idea of worker’s checking and doing minor repair work on their own equipment possibly decreases the risk of equipment failure. Selecting an appropriate set of balancing mechanism is a part of work cell design and it must be linked with many other decisions for the system to function well.