The need for manufacturing firms to adopt the line balancing technique has become crucial to optimize the assembly lines as well as reducing the production time and maximizing output.
Line balancing is a strategy that determines an intended rate of production to produce a particular product within a specific frame of time. Line balancing also referred to as load balancing, production leveling, or originally Heijunka (Japanese) describes a technique to align production output with customer demand through leveling of cycle times.
More technically, line balancing is a production strategy that involves operator and machine time to match the production rate to the takt time to make production lines flexible enough to absorb external and internal irregularities. Takt time is the rate at which parts or products need to be completed to meet customer demand.
Line balancing makes efficient manufacturing process flow systems available for low-volume assembly ordering in production and enables modern production strategies such as mass customization.It also maximizes the division of labor while increases line productivity.
The existing imbalances in the assembly line leads to a waste of time at all other stations; therefore, an efficient balance among the stations completes the required work while maintaining the specified sequence and minimizing the idle time.
A standard example is an assembly line with workstations A, B and C with each having the capacity to produce 200 units, 100 units, and 50 units per hour respectively. If each of the machines were to produce only 50 items per hour then each hour the machine at station A be idle for 45 and station B would be idle for 30 minutes respectively. Such a layout would be unbalanced and the assembly line in workstations needed to balance.
Benefits of Line Balancing
1. Reducing Waste of Waiting
Waste of Waiting is one of the 8 types of waste of lean manufacturing and refers to any idle time that occurs when operations are not completely synchronized. For example, waste of waiting occurs when operators are waiting for materials or for other operators to complete their tasks. Also, equipment downtime is the time during which equipment is not operating and one of the examples of waste of waiting.
2. Reducing Costs and Increasing Profits
Efficient line balancing leads to operators and machines that perform in a completely synchronized manner. No operator is paid for standing idle. In other words, labor force and machine capacity are maximized. Such process efficiency represents lower costs and more profits.
3. Reducing Inventory Waste
Inventory waste corresponds to an excess of raw materials, work in progress or finished goods. Line balancing standardizes production and it is much easier to avoid inventory buildup or surplus. By reducing idle time, line balancing ensures minimum work in progress. Therefore, it assures on-time delivery to the customer by bringing production time closer to takt time.
How to Achieve Line Balancing with Khenda
Line balancing is purely an analytical undertaking that you can facilitate by using one of Khenda advanced engineering tools. The line balancing tool displays the average cycle times, and step times of workstations in a line from analyzed videos. It provides information about the current status of line balance, by comparing production status in terms of takt time and calculating line balance rate.
Users are able to view times for motion elements in a line balancing graph when it is used with the method tool. Engineers are able to analyze waiting times and their effect on line balancing. Therefore, Khenda provides tools to analyze, and perform root cause analysis about the waste of waiting. Also, users are able to view times for motion elements in a line balancing graph when it is used with the method tool.
"You can't improve what you don't measure"- Peter Ducker
Since users have accurate data of manual work, Khenda Analyze also provides enhanced tools for improvements. Line balancing graphs are modified, and future status graphs are created from the analyzed data. This enables engineers to create perfectly balanced lines in terms of efficiency, quality, and standardized work.
If you’re interested in assembly line balancing for your industry, contact Khenda Engineering team for more information.