Mathematical models and migrating birds optimization for robotic U-shaped assembly line balancing problem

  • Zixiang Li
  • Mukund Nilakantan JanardhananEmail author
  • Amira S. Ashour
  • Nilanjan Dey
Original Article


Modern assembly line systems utilize robotics to replace human resources to achieve higher level of automation and flexibility. This work studies the task assignment and robot allocation in a robotic U-shaped assembly line. Two new mixed-integer programming linear models are developed to minimize the cycle time when the number of workstations is fixed. Recently developed migrating birds optimization algorithm is employed and improved to solve large-sized problems. Problem-specific improvements are also developed to enhance the proposed algorithm including modified consecutive assignment procedure for robot allocation, iterative mechanism for cycle time update, new population update mechanism and diversity controlling mechanism. An extensive comparative study is carried out to test the performance of the proposed algorithm, where seven high-performing algorithms recently reported in the literature are re-implemented to tackle the considered problem. The computational results demonstrate that the developed models are capable to achieve the optimal solutions for small-sized problems, and the proposed algorithm with these proposed improvements achieves excellent performance and outperforms the compared ones.


Robotic U-shaped assembly line Integer programming Migrating birds optimization Artificial intelligence 



The first author acknowledges the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 61803287 and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation under grant 2018M642928.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Metallurgical Equipment and Control TechnologyWuhan University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Hubei Key Laboratory of Mechanical Transmission and Manufacturing EngineeringWuhan University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina
  3. 3.Mechanics of Materials Research Group, Department of EngineeringUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  4. 4.Department of Electronics and Electrical Communication Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringTanta UniversityTantaEgypt
  5. 5.Department of Information TechnologyTechno India College of TechnologyKolkataIndia

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