Evaluation of failure risks for manual tightening operations in automotive assembly lines

Armagan Altinisik*, Utku Yildirim, Y. Ilker Topcu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The tightening operations are one of the most critical operations in automotive assembly lines because of its direct impact on customer safety. This study aims to evaluate the major complexity drivers for manual tightening operations, correlate with real tightening failure data and propose mitigations to improve the complexity. Design/methodology/approach: In the first stage, the complexity drivers for manual tightening operations were identified. Then, the relative importance of the risk attributes was defined by using pairwise comparisons questionnaire. Further, failure mode effect analysis–analytic hierarchy process (FMEA–AHP) and AHP ratings methods were applied to 20 manual tightening operations in automotive assembly lines. Finally, the similarities between the revealed results and the real failure rates of a Turkish automotive factory were examined and a sensitivity analysis was conducted. Findings: The correlation between the proposed methods and manual tightening failure data was calculated as 83%–86%. On the other hand, the correlation between FMEA–AHP and AHP ratings was found as 92%. Poor ergonomics, operator competency and training, operator concentration-loose attention fatigue, manual mouthing before the tightening operation, frequent task changes, critical tightening sequence, positioning of the part and/or directional assembly were found relatively critical for the selected 20 tightening operations. Originality/value: This is a unique study for the evaluation of the attributes for manual tightening complexity in automotive assembly lines. The output of this study can be used to improve manual tightening failures in manual assembly lines and to create low complexity assembly lines in new model launches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-676
Number of pages24
JournalAssembly Automation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • AHP ratings
  • Automotive assembly
  • Complexity
  • Manual tightening


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