Design of Product and Process Layout

Plant layout is a floor plan of the physical facilities which bare used in production. Layout planning is referred to the generation of several possible plans for the spatial arrangement of physical facilities and selects the one which minimizes the distance between departments.

The following are the main objectives of plant layout:

• Minimum investment in equipment
• Minimum overall production time
• Utilize existing space effectively
• Provide for employment convenience, safety and comfort
• Maintain flexibility of arrangement and operations
• Minimized material handling costs
• Facilitate the manufacturing process
• Facilitate the organizational structure

Layout planning in manufacturing and service organizations deals with the physical arrangement of various resources that are available in the system with the objective to improve the performance of the operating system, thereby better customer service. Typically, in case of a manufacturing organization, there may be over 200 machine tools of various kinds to be located in a machine shop. Similarly, in the case of a service organization such as hospital or hotel, there are various resources to be physically located. We can identify the best possible locations for various resources in organizations through good layout planning exercise. Layout planning provides a set of tools and techniques that help an operation manager to decide where to locate the resources and also to assess the impact of the alternative choices that he/she may have for locating the resources.

A good layout design will ensure that a vast majority of jobs in a manufacturing system may have to travel shorter distances before completing their processing requirements. Similarly, in the case of service organizations, customers may need to walk shorter distances and spend less time in the systems of the processes come down. On the other hand, a bad layout design will result in longer distances to be covered before completing the process. This creates several problems in organizations and several key performance measures suffer. The most significant and visible effect is the time taken to complete the process. Longer distances would mean more time to complete the process and more material handling in the case of manufacturing organization, leading to higher material handling costs. Eventually, in both service and manufacturing systems, this leads to poor quality.

Design of Product layout: Layout design for products can be classified into the following two methods.

• Manual methods
• Computerized methods

Manual Methods: Under this category there are some conventional methods like travel chart and Systematic Layout Planning (SLP). We will discuss Systematic Layout process:

Systematic Layout Design Method (SLP) This is an organized approach to layout planning. This approach has been developed by Muther. It is clear that once the appropriate information is gathered, a flow analysis can be combined with an activity analysis to develop the relationship diagram. This space-relationship diagram is constructed by combining space considerations with the relationship diagram. Based on space relationship diagram, modifying considerations and practical limitations, a number of alternative layouts are designed and evaluated.

Computerized methods: Under these methods the layout design procedures can be classified into constructive type algorithms and improvement type algorithms.

Constructive type algorithms are:
• Automated Layout Design Program (ALDEP)
• Computerized Relationship Layout Planning (CORELAP)

Improvement type algorithms are:
• Computerized Relative allocation of Facilities Technique (CRAFT)


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