The following is a BRIEF description of our line balancing system

The purpose of Line balancing is to make the bottleneck time as close to the average time per operation as possible. This can be measured by the Line balance efficiency, which is a measure of the effectiveness of a Line Balance. Line Balancing is an essential step in the search for increased productivity and if done correctly it can improve operational productivity by making a production unit work more efficiently

It is a vital key in the efficient running of a line, the object of the process being to ‘balance the workload’ of each operation to ensure a smooth flow of work, to minimise the effect of bottlenecks and to facilitate operators to work at peak performance throughout the day. The process is intended to reduce waiting time and Work In Progress to a minimum. The following information is essential for the preparation of a line balance:

  1. Operation sequence
  2. Type of machines required per operation
  3. List of attachments required
  4. A Standard time for each operation
  5. Number of operators on the line(Balancing Type 1)
  6. Number of pieces required (Balancing Type 2)

Using “Methods” software one can easily make an Operation Sequence which lists the Equipment Required (Machine and Attachments) and the Standard time

For those of you who have done this job you will have noticed that sometimes a difference of one or two operators can change the output potential of the line, so we have inserted the following screen to help you to achieve the maximum productivity from the start.

The above conditions are now applied to the operation sequence. Different machine types are displayed in different colours for ease of combination the bottleneck operations are shown in RED Operations in Gold indicate operations that require an integer number of people, therefore they do not need combining with other operations.

The balancing procedure is to choose the operations that can be balanced (those that use the same machine). As an example we have selected operations 2, 3 and 5 to combine since they use the same machine type, they are close to each other and will load the requirement of one operator.

Once this has been done press the combine button and the screen will show the combined operations and the line will change to GOLD

The process is continued until all of the operations have been combined, during this process an effort should be made to improve the output of the Bottleneck operation since this will improve the balance efficiency which will lead to higher efficiency and increased productivity.

There may be alternative balances for this style, the eventual choice is in the hands of the operator, a knowledge of the operator skills base is essential to the operation of this system.

Line Layout

The line layout section of the system offers various layout formats, you can choose the layout option you require, operations will be placed in the best possible sequence to ensure the best possible flow.

The current layout choices are

a. Straight line b. Zig Zag c. Side by side d. Side by side opposites

The IE team can monitor the way the line is running by doing cycle checks and entering them against the operator who is doing the operation, one can then monitor how the line is performing against expectations and take the necessary action to correct any problems.

The information gathered by the system shown above is produced daily and will be accumulated during the running time of the order and by filtering the info it is possible to produce extremely useful management information.

Reports , all of which can be reported Hourly / Daily/ Weekly/ Monthly and Graphed

Pieces per operation Pieces against balance target Efficiency per operation
Efficiency against balance target Best # operators Worst # operators
WIP per operation WIP above and below required level Total WIP against target
Bottleneck(s) Operator potential against actual – Fever chart
Operators with potential who are not reaching target Today’s balance efficiency
Cumulative balance efficiency against target Avg balance efficiency from the start of the style
And many more!