The research work overviewed in this paper aims to develop a method to assist the production line designer for the choice of the best way to feed, to handle, and to insert parts in an assembly line.
They are a lot of criteria influencing his decision, which can be geometrical (symmetry, dimensions,...), mechanical (slipperiness, fitting,...), economical (pay-back period, cycle-time,...),... It is thus obviously a multicriteria decision-aid problem with three possible solutions : the manual method, the robotized and the automated ones.
The choice of the most significant criteria was based on an extensive literature review and on a very strong collaboration with a Belgian line integrator called FABRICOM which has helped us to quantify the influence of each criteria. In order to implement the decision-aid method in a user-friendly computer tool, we decided to use a statistical method, called PROMETHEE, which has shown in the past his efficiency for multicriteria decision-aid problems.
The paper describes, on the basis of industrial examples, different modules of the computer-aided package, not only for the choice of the assembly method, but also for the analysis of that choice and its archiving.
The link between the decision-aid tool and a CAD method for the layout of assembly lines is also presented.