Nuñez F. Medina J.Seck J Hernandez N.Hernandez E.,
The problem of assigning buffers in a production line to obtain an optimum production rate is a combinatorial problem of type NP-Hard and it is known as Buffer Allocation Problem. It is of great importance for designers of production systems due to the costs involved in terms of space requirements. In this work, the relationship among the number of buffer slots, the number of work stations, and the production rate is studied. Response surface methodology and artificial neural network were used todevelop predictive models to find optimal throughput values. 360 production rate values for different number of buffer slots and workstations were used to obtain a fourth-order mathematical model and four hidden layers? artificial neural network. Both models have a good performance in predicting the throughput, although the artificial neural network model shows a better fit (? = 1.0000)against the response surface methodology (? = 0.9996). Moreover, the artificial neural network produces better predictions for data not utilized in the models construction. Finally, this study can be used as a guide to forecast the maximum or near maximum throughput of production lines taking into account the buffer size and the number of machines in the line.