Flexible automation and the loss of pooling synergy

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This paper focuses on the effects of flexible automation on the performance of a job shop. Flexible automated machines may significantly improve the delivery performance and the flow time of jobs. The insertion of a flexible automated system in a job shop, however, also has a counter effect on the manufacturing performance. This is caused by the reduction of pooling synergy due to the dedication implied by flexible automated machines. This paper investigates by means of a simulation study to what extent the loss of pooling synergy will deteriorate job shop performance. Simulation is also used to indicate the level of efficiency of the automated machinery needed to overcome the negative effect of the loss of pooling synergy. The simulation study also highlights the importance of propriate off-line assignment rules, which assign jobs to either the conventional or automated machines. Major conclusion of this paper is that the ‘pooling loss effect’ should be taken into account in the design and justification of new flexible automated machinery. The design of appropriate offline assignment rules, furthermore, has to be seen as an integral part of investment in new technology.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherFaculty of Management and Organization, University of Groningen
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2001


  • Efficiëntie
  • Automatisering
  • Productieplanning
  • 85.35;

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