Approximate analysis of serial flow lines with multiple parallel-machine stations

Alexandros Diamantidis, Chrissoleon T. Papadopoulos, Cathal Heavey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies serial flow lines, in which each station consists of multiple identical reliable parallel machines. The parallel machines of different work stations are not necessarily identical, viz., station processing times are assumed to be exponentially distributed with non-identical mean service rates. Initially, a model consisting of two stations with multiple parallel machines and an intermediate buffer is solved analytically, by developing a recursive algorithm that generates the transition matrix for any value of the intermediate buffer capacity. This model is used as a decomposition block for solving larger lines. More specifically, the decomposition block is solved via exact Markovian analysis and then the decomposition equations and an algorithm that simultaneously solves them are derived in order to evaluate the performance measures of large production systems with multiple parallel-machine stations. Numerical results are provided for large production lines with up to 1000 workstations. These results are compared against simulation and the average percentage error is found to be very small.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-375
Number of pages15
JournalIIE Transactions (Institute of Industrial Engineers)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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