Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 7 (2001), Issue 6, Pages 543-578

c-Bottlenecks in serial production lines: Identification and application

S.-Y. Chiang,1 C.-T. Kuo,2 and S. M. Meerkov3

1Department of Computer Communication Engineering, Ming-Chuan University, Taoyuan County, R.O.C., Taiwan
2Deceased, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-2122, MI, USA
3Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-2122, MI, USA

Received 15 February 2001

Copyright © 2001 S.-Y. Chiang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The bottleneck of a production line is a machine that impedes the system performance in the strongest manner. In production lines with the so-called Markovian model of machine reliability, bottlenecks with respect to the downtime, uptime, and the cycle time of the machines can be introduced. The two former have been addressed in recent publications [1] and [2]. The latter is investigated in this paper. Specifically, using a novel aggregation procedure for performance analysis of production lines with Markovian machines having different cycle time, we develop a method for c-bottleneck identification and apply it in a case study to a camshaft production line at an automotive engine plant.