After selecting plant location, based on the type of production system to be adopted, the layout has to be decided. The types of layout are
1. Fixed product layout
2. Product layout
3. Group (flexible) layout
4. Process layout
Fixed Product Layout
The fixed product layout is developed by locating the workstations or production centers on the fixed job. Fixed layout type is used when the job size is large. Logistics are involved in ensuring that the right processes are brought to the product at the right time and at the right place. This has been mainly used in electronic industry to support computer systems integration and test; materials, sub assemblies, components, peripherals are brought to the single workstation where finished system is built. This type of layout requires generally higher number of personnel and equipments than the other types, since the work piece remains stationary.
1. This method is highly flexible and any changes in product design and product mix can be easily accommodated.
2. Since work centers are independent, scheduling results in achieving minimum total production time
3. The teams of personnel are responsible for continuity of operations.
4. Movement of materials is reduced.
5. Job enlargement could be promoted by allowing individuals or teams to perform the whole job.
1. Skilled labour is required.
2. Supervision is required.
3. Positioning of material and machinery is costly and complex
4. Equipment duplication may occur.
5. Utilization of equipment is required.
In this layout the machines are arranged according to the processing sequence of the product. Material flows directly from one workstation to other workstation. Machines are not shared by the products. This type of layout is used for high volume production. For proper utilization of machines sufficient production volume is required. Since the processes are located closed together in the production sequence, the layout minimizes the distance between the work center.
1. The total production time is short.
2. The material handling is reduced because of the location of the machines to minimize the distances between the consecutive operations.
3. Less skilled operator is required. Thus training is simple and short.
4. Less space is occupied by work in transit and temporary storage.
5. The flow is smooth and logical flow line results.
6. Small in process inventory as the work is directly fed from one process to other.
1. The production time is determined by the slowest machine.
2. A general supervision is required.
3. Since identical machines are arranged at various locations, initial investment is high.
4. A change in the product design requires an entire change in the layout.
5. A break down of one machine lead to complete stoppage of entire production.
When production volume is not sufficient for product layout, group layout is used. Here products are grouped in to logical product families. The groups of processes are called cells. So it is also called as cellular layout. It is a compromise between product and process layout. Since products are grouped into families this technology is also called as group technology with each individual cells are called GT cells.
1. This supports the use of general purpose equipments.
2. This is a compromise between product and process layout.
3. Shorter travel distances and smoother flow lines than process layout.
4. Team attitude and job enlargement tend to occur.
5. Utilization of each machine is increased.
1. Higher skilled employees are required
2. General supervision is required.
3. It depends on the balanced material flow through the cell otherwise buffers and WIP storage are required.
In this type the machine are grouped and the product passes from one group to other group based on the sequence of production. The groups of processes are called cells. The process layout is used in the rapid changes in the product mix or production volume as well as when both product and group layout cannot be used. Typically job shop employs process layout due to the variety of products manufactured and their low production volume. It has high degree of inter departmental flow.
1. Since the machines are grouped, only fewer machines are required; thus minimum investment is required
2. Better utilization of machines could be achieved.
3. High degree of flexibility exists.
4. Supervision could be specialized.
5. The working personnel find the job more satisfying and interesting since there is a diversity of tasks.
1. Highly skilled labor is required.
2. Work in process inventory is increased.
3. Total production time is longer
4. Planning and control of production system turns out to be tedious.
5. Space and capital are tied up by the work in process.
6. Material handling is more expensive because of longer flow line.
Design of Process Layout
To design a process layout there are some computerized techniques available. Computerized techniques are classified into
• Techniques which select the best process layout based on the material cost comparison.
• Other computerized techniques which select the best process layout based on the qualitative factors namely the closeness between the departments.
Closeness ratings are as follows:
A – Absolutely essential
E - Ordinary closeness
I – Important
O – Ordinary importance
U – Un important
X – Not desirable.
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