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An assembly line information system study

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conference contribution
posted on 21.04.2017, 14:42 by Keith Case, Gunnar Backstrand, Dan Hogberg, Peter Thorvald, Leo J. De Vin
Assembly line information systems are designed to provide assembly workers with appropriate information that allows the assembly of the product in good time and good quality. In this context product quality might be defined relative to the number of internal rejects or products which need some kind of reworking before being in a deliverable condition. This paper describes a pilot study of a heavy diesel engine assembly line where considerable variety is presented to the assembly workers in the form of engines destined for trucks, buses, marine applications and stationary power generation each of which has to comply with a variety of national and international standards. Internal rejects might for example occur through the fitting of subassemblies that are unsuited to the eventual application, and although an extensive information system is currently in place the level of internal rejects is considered to be unsatisfactory. The objectives of the study were to understand how the assembly workers interact with information systems and the impact this has on product quality and productivity. A single line was studied for ten days during which 2600 engines were assembled. At four of the assembly stations the existing information system was changed to reduce the amount of information to be assimilated by the workers, the timing of its presentation and its location. The use of simple colour-coded cards and symbols resulted in the reduction of internal rejects by 40% on two of the assembly stations and to zero on the other two stations. It is believed that changing the information system has changed the workers' behaviour through a reduction in cognitive stress levels. The pilot study has provided useful insights into the basis for modifying information systems and a further study of the final assembly of heavy trucks is planned with an ultimate aim of determining a rationale for the design of information systems for use within the assembly of customised products.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Sixth International Conference on Manufacturing Research, ICMR08 'Advances in Manufacturing Technology XXII', the Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Manufacturing Research, ICMR08




181 - 188


CASE, K. ... et al, 2008. An assembly line information system study. IN: Cheng, K., Makatsoris, H. and D. Harrison (eds). Advances in Manufacturing Technology XXII: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Manufacturing Research (ICMR2008), Vol. 1, Brunel University, London, UK, 9th-11th September 2008, pp. 181-188.


Brunel University


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



This is a conference paper.






Brunel University, London, UK