Materials exposure: The interface between materials supply and assembly
Doctoral thesis, 2013

This thesis concerns the supply of components to assembly in production sys- tems, and introduces materials exposure as the interface between materials sup- ply systems and assembly systems. The purpose of the thesis is to explain how materials exposure influences the performance of materials supply systems and assembly systems. The supply of components is crucial for assembly, for in serving the requirements from assembly. Still, the materials supply system has to remain efficient. In this way, materials exposure impacts the performance of a production system as a whole. The thesis is a based on five studies, all of which depart from theoretical frame- works developed from literature and empirically applied within the Swedish automotive industry. Four case studies and one experiment were conducted to answer three research questions, and the results are published in five papers. The results of the thesis provide several theoretical and practical contributions. Both the position of the exposure and the size of the packaging for a component impact the performance of the assembly workstation performance in terms of space required, non-value-adding work, and ergonomics. Materials exposure impacts manual picking time at assembly lines, for which packaging is the most influential factor, followed by angle of exposure and height of the exposed com- ponent. Materials exposure further impacts the configuration of the in-plant ma- terials supply system by requiring additional activities in the in-plant materials supply system, which impacts its performance. Concerning the impact of choice of packaging used in materials exposure, a model to evaluate the impact a pack- aging has on the performance of the materials supply system was developed. The Materials Flow Mapping methodology is another contribution that describes the activities in materials supply systems, as well as categorises the activities in material flows into materials handling, transportation, storage, and administra- tive activities. This thesis explains how the materials exposure influences the performance of materials supply systems and assembly systems. It shows how materials expo- sure impacts the assembly system performance and the in-plant materials supply system performance, and finally, how the packaging for materials exposure im- pacts the performance of the materials supply systems and assembly systems. The thesis can further be used as a guide for how materials should be exposed and in the selection of packaging for materials exposure. The most beneficial managerial use would be in the design and operation of assembly systems, mate- rials supply systems, and in particular, materials exposure.


production systems

lean production

materials supply

materials handling

Materials exposure


Vasa C
Opponent: Annika Olsson


Christian Finnsgård

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Logistics & Transportation

Selection of packaging systems in supply chains from a sustainability perspective - the case of Volvo

Packaging Technology and Science,; Vol. 26(2013)p. 289-310

Journal article

Impact of materials exposure on assembly workstation performance

International Journal of Production Research,; Vol. 49(2011)p. 7253-7274

Journal article

Impact of unit load size on in-plant materials supply efficiency

International Journal of Production Economics,; Vol. 147(2014)p. 46-52

Journal article

Describing and assessing performance in material flows in supply chains: a case study in the Swedish automotive industry.

Proceedings from the 4th INternational Swedish Production Symposium,; (2011)p. 329-338

Paper in proceedings

Factors impacting manual picking on assembly lines: An experiment in the automotive industry

International Journal of Production Research,; Vol. 51(2013)p. 1789-1798

Journal article

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Mechanical Engineering

Areas of Advance





Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 3636


Chalmers University of Technology

Vasa C

Opponent: Annika Olsson

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