Incorporating ergonomic risks into assembly line balancing
In manufacturing, control of ergonomic risks at manual workplaces is a necessity commanded by legislation, care for health of workers and economic considerations. Methods for estimating ergonomic risks of workplaces are integrated into production routines at most firms that use the assembly-type of production. Assembly line re-balancing, i.e., re-assignment of tasks to workers, is an effective and, in case that no additional workstations are required, inexpensive method to reduce ergonomic risks. In our article, we show that even though most ergonomic risk estimation methods involve nonlinear functions, they can be integrated into assembly line balancing techniques at low additional computational cost. Our computational experiments indicate that re-balancing often leads to a substantial mitigation of ergonomic risks.