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Parts-feeding systems for assembly: organisation, logistics and automation

Special issue call for papers from Assembly Automation

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Driven by shorter product life cycles and an increasing number of variants, nowadays products are more and more often manufactured in flexible assembly systems.

One significant challenge faced by such production systems is parts-feeding. The high number of parts managed, mixed model production, variety of parts' shape and size, limited space at assembly stations and manipulation of a wide variety of parts type during the assembly tasks are just some of the issues which have to be addressed.

Considering the two main assembly configurations (single station and assembly line) it is possible to identify two different but interdependent aspects of the problem: parts-feeding from the warehouse to the productive units and parts-feeding inside the assembly station, from the stocking units to the assemblers (human operators and automated manipulators). Each of these two aspects requires optimal design and management in terms of organisation, logistics and industrial automation.

The first includes macro logistics factors: supermarket system warehouse implementation, feeding policy definition (line stocking, kanban, kitting), milk-run applications in lean plant logistics systems, models sequencing and parts-feeding scheduling, materials handling and stock-keeping unit definition, flexible automation in materials identification, picking and delivery.

The second includes micro logistics factors: assembly station design, ergonomics, materials positioning, rapid and easy identification of parts and picking systems, flexible automation for recognition of parts, separation, singularisation and orientation, quality control.

Reliable and flexible supply of parts is indispensable, because of the high costs of material shortages. On the other hand, parts-feeding is a huge time-consuming activity in assembly systems. As a consequence, the development of innovative approaches, techniques and automated tools which can increase efficiency has relevant practical implications.



The variety of industrial contexts and the continuous improvement of logistics and automation technologies make the state of the art in assembly systems parts-feeding not exhaustive. This special issue seeks original manuscripts that investigate both macro and micro logistics factors of the problem. Novel, high-quality papers investigating parts-feeding in assembly systems should include but not be limited to innovative methodologies and tools, new real-world case studies and innovative automation technologies. Manuscripts with real-world novel applications are welcomed from practitioners and researchers.


Possible topics for the issue include but are not limited to:


Optimisation of parts-feeding at assembly systems 

  • Kanban/kitting/line stocking: feeding policy optimisation
  • Supermarket warehouse systems: innovation in automation for storing, picking and handling activities
  • Handling/stocking facilities designed to optimise in-plant logistics for assembly system parts feeding
  • Automated and flexible system for material feeding from supermarkets to assembly systems
  • Lean plant logistics systems: innovative applications and case study in flexible assembly systems


Materials management optimisation at assembly stations

  • Flexible automated systems in assembly: innovative flexible parts-feeding devices
  • Lean assembly systems and materials management: advanced techniques, innovation and case studies
  • Task time reduction and materials management optimisation at assembly stations
  • Advanced automated tools for automated parts identification/recognition/singularisation
  • Efficient parts quality control systems at assembly stations
  • Integrated approaches for parts-feeding optimisation including both macro and micro logistics aspects


Time schedule




Manuscript Preparation

Each manuscript will be refereed for publication by at least two reviewers. The length of the submitted article should be no more than 4,500 words including tables, references and appendices. Authors must conform to the instructions given in the Guide for Authors on Assembly Automation while preparing their manuscripts and submit their full papers electronically:


Any questions?

For any further information please contact the Guest Editors:

Maurizio Faccio
[email protected]
Department of Management and Engineering, University of Padova, Stradella San Nicola, 3 36100 Vicenza, Italy

Yuval Cohen
[email protected]
Department of Industrial Engineering, The Open University of Israel, P.O.Box 808, Raanana 43537, Israel


Full manuscript submission: 31 May 2014
Notification of review reports: 30 August 2014
Revised final manuscript due date: 30 October 2014
Publication of the Special Issue (Tentative): 30 November 2014