Some Considerations Relating to the Reintroduction of Assembly Lines in Swedish Automotive Industry
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2004

In recent years, assembly lines have been reintroduced in the Swedish automotive industry and, in many cases, have replaced those so-called alternative assembly systems which had their roots in the 1970s. This paper reviews and evaluates some explicit reasons given for the return to the assembly line. It also considers whether the decisions to replace alternative assembly systems with assembly lines may have been driven by other factors and mechanisms than those implicit in these arguments and, if so, what other factors could explain their reintroduction.

There is also a discussion of which dimensions that should be taken into account when choosing between alternative assembly systems and assembly lines and empirical data are used to shed more light on the issues discussed in the article. The authors report one study that compares automobile assembly in an alternative assembly system with the assembly of the same products after introducing an assembly line. They also briefly discuss reasons for and experiences from the recent introduction of alternative assembly systems in the Japanese electronics industry. In this case, so-called cellular assembly systems have replaced assembly lines.

A comment: Note that the most socio-technically advanced assembly system designs (like the Volvo Uddevalla plant) inventible requires reformed/reconfigured information systems dealing with product data (which in turn defines the product architecture and product variation) (see other publications registered in Chalmer Public Library CPL). In fact, no any such (real-life) plant or assembly system would work as anticipated otherwise. And this publication is only partly describing some selected aspects of this (very) dilemma (changing information systems are usually not something considered than designing assembly systems) (thus are totally new plants – and in turn totally new information systems – most often the real practical change to create something unorthodox) (however, which scientist will gain such opportunities, this is really rare, i.e. the projection of the Volvo Uddevalla plant was thus an exception and the trust given by the industry – by Volvo Uddevalla project organisation – was appreciated by some of the authors).

materials feeding techniques


manufacturing technology

work structuring

restructuring of information systems

long work cycle times

parallel product flows

learning and training

autonomous workgroups

assembly work


Dan Jonsson

Göteborgs universitet

Lars Medbo

Chalmers, Institutionen för logistik och transport

Tomas Engström

Chalmers, Institutionen för logistik och transport

International Journal of Operations and Production Management

01443577 (ISSN) 17586593 (eISSN)

Vol. 24 8 754 - 772


Produktionsteknik, arbetsvetenskap och ergonomi

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