Exact analysis of a discrete material three-station one-buffer merge system with unreliable machines

A. C. Diamantidis, C. T. Papadopoulos, M. I. Vidalis

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32 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, a model of a discrete material flow line consisting of three unreliable machines and one buffer of limited capacity is analysed. A similar system, but with continuous flow of material was examined by Helber and Mehrtens (2001) and Tan (2001). In our system it is assumed that the buffer has two immediate preceding machines, performing the same operations and one immediate succeeding machine that receives material from the buffer. For the case where the buffer reaches its own capacity, one of the two preceding machines has priority over the other to dispose its processed part into the buffer. Processing times are assumed to be deterministic and identical for all machines and are taken as the time unit. Geometrically distributed operation dependent failures at the machines are assumed. All possible transition equations for the examined model are derived and a recursive algorithm that generates the transition matrix for any value N of the storage level is developed. Once the transition matrix is known the performance measures of the model under consideration can be easily evaluated. This model may be used as a building block in a decomposition method to evaluate large production systems with split/merge operations (for example, flow lines with quality inspections and rework loops).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-675
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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