Much of my work is related to productivity improvement on SMT assembly lines. When one considers that the electronics assembly industry manufactures about $1 trillion of products per year (source Prismark) on about 30,000 assembly lines (source: estimation performed by me and Yann Morvan of Enthone), the average assembly line produces about $35 million per year!
Considering this $35 million per line per year metric begs the question, "How much does my line lose a year if it is not balanced?" Using ProftPro we can see that this line will produce $600K per year more in profit if its cycle time is reduced from 28 to 26 seconds!
How could one achieve such a cycle time reduction? My experience in visiting 100s of assembly lines throughout the world is that lines are almost never balanced. As an example, the chip shooter may have a cycle time of 28 seconds while the flexible placer may have a cycle time of only 20 seconds. If the line is balanced by moving components to the flexible placer, the cycle time might be reduced to 26 seconds, thus fulfilling the profit improvement scenario above.
Historically to achieve such line balancing, expensive, difficult to use software like Arena was needed. I have developed a simple to use Excel software package, call LineSimulator that Indium Corp is pleased to send to those interested. If you would like a copy, send me a note and I will see that you get one.