An increasing number of industrial problems in programming and scheduling now are being solved by analytic procedures. Yet, the almost universal problem of balancing an assembly line does not appear heretofore to have been so treated, even though the first known assembly line was established as early as the War of the Revolution by Eli Whitney for the manufacture of muskets. Efficient procedures for handling this problem are highly desirable. A very large percentage of all commodities, both civilian and military, are manufactured by assembly-line methods, so that any improvement in these procedures would have a very broad area of impact, in both peacetime and wartime production. This paper reports initial results in attempting to develop such a procedure. While refinements are expected with increasing experience and further research, it is believed the practical usefulness of the analytical, engineering approach to this manufacturing problem is demonstrated by present results. Indeed, substantial improvements in productivity have been achieved in each of several cases in which it was used. In addition, the present procedure lends itself to machine computation, such that it likely will be possible to compute optimum balances for assembly lines for many different levels of output in advance and thereby permit reduction by two to three weeks the lead time required to change the rate of production when required by changes in sales.

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