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TRB&S develops COMSOAL Computer Method of Sequencing Operation for Assembly Lines for balancing Assembly Lines Dennis E. MulvihilP ASSEMBLY LINE BALANCING is the term applied to a common problem in many industries, that of sequencing continuous manufacturing operations and assigning various combinations of these operations to individual workers on the line. A perfectly balanced line results when manufacturing operations are assigned to men in a sequence which minimizes the number of men required, equalizes the amount of work assigned to each man, minimizes both idle time and make-ready time,2 but ensures sufficient idle time to handle the expected variations in operation times without slowing the line. To the extent that the line balance is less than perfect, men and equipment are used inefficiently. Balancing an assembly line by manual, trial and error methods is an arduous task. Industrial engineers now spend up to several weeks developing a few sequences of operations in order to select one they hope will minimize the number of men required for a line. Since there are usually many thousands or even millions of different sequences which could be developed, it would be most surprising if the engineer stumbled upon the best sequence in half a dozen tries. In order to solve this problem, the method which we 1 The other former or current members of TRB&S who helped in the development of this technique are Albert Arcus, now with the University of California, Gerald Demirjian, now with Chrysler Corporation, Sanford S. Ackerman and Roger R. Crane. - Make-ready time covers necessary but nonproductive operations such as picking up and putting down tools, walking back to a start point along a moving conveyor and indexing the work into the proper physical positions. call COMSOAL, COmputer Method of Sequencing Operations for Assembly Lines, was developed by TRB&S personnel in conjunction with personnel from one of our clients and from one of the major computer manufacturers. Although the basic technology underlying COMSOAL will soon be widely known, TRB&S presently has proprietary rights to the only comprehensive working system, and it would cost a company perhaps $250,000 to develop a similar system on their own. Our system is available at a fraction of that cost. The basic COMSOAL system is designed and programmed for running on an IBM 7090. The computer programs are sufficiently general for application to the vast majority of assembly lines, so it is not necessary for a company to have its own IBM 7090 in order to use COMSOAL. Time can be rented on a number of these computers throughout the United States. Many companies can substantially improve their assignments of assembly line labor without resorting to the computer. In applying COMSOAL, the first step is the development of a "balloon diagram," illustrated below. This shows all of the required technological precedence relationships among operations which have to be performed on an assembly line. In other words, it shows all of the other operations which must be completed before starting on any particular operation. The balloon diagram, although it bears a superficial resemblance to a PERT network diagram,3 is concerned 3 See "PERT-CPM" by William D. Power, Quarterly, December 1962. 20 T H E QUARTERLY
TRB&S develops COMSOAL for balancing assembly lines
Assembly-line methods -- Automation
COMSOAL (Computer Method of Sequencing Operation for Assembly Lines)
Arcus, Albert L.
Ackerman, Sanford S.
Crane, Roger R.
Touche, Ross, Bailey & Smart. Management Services Central Staff
Quarterly, Vol. 09, no. 2 (1963, June), p. 20-23
|Source||Originally published by: Touche, Ross, Bailey & Smart|
|Rights||Copyright and permission to republish held by: Deloitte|
|Format||PDF image with OCR under text, scanned at 400dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi. Digital Accounting Collection|