This paper discusses a new strategy for deploying cobots in assembly lines having manual stations. The paper first presents the contribution of absenteeism to the temporary appearance of bottle-neck stations and the resulted lost throughput. It then delineates some barriers and obstacles of cobots' deployment in these stations. Finally, it discusses the advantages of employing a cobot-specialist for a defined segment of the assembly line. The suggested role of the cobot-specialist is to quickly find ways in which a cobot will alleviate the work of a temporary workers filling positions of absentees. Such replacement workers are in their early stages of their learning curve, and are considerably slow, with high chances of becoming a bottleneck. A bottleneck station dictates the pace of the whole line and reducing its cycle-time, increases the throughput of the whole line. Thus, the suggested approach prevents throughput losses due to absenteeism. Having a line-segment specialist that is familiar with the various stations in his/her segment ensures both having some pre-prepared schemes of cobot deployment for each station, and the ability of rapid installation of the cobot. Moreover, replacement workers typically are too busy to deal with the cobot's installation or operation. The approach is validated using ARENA simulation scenarios for various line segments.
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- Assembly line
- Collaborative robot
- Human-Machine Interaction