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Design of an Ideal Plant Layout

Design of an Ideal Plant Layout
Design of an Ideal Plant Layout Approach to proper layout: When a new plant is erected, a good deal of expertise is used by management to design a proper layout. A comprehensive approach with regard to the placement of machineries, location of stores, inspection cabins, tool rooms, maintenance wings, receiving and shipping departments, toilets, canteens and other handling equipments, is necessary for achieving quick and smooth production at the least cost. There is no set pattern of layout for all plants. What is suitable for a giant plant will not be fit for a small factory. What goes well with a processing industry may not match a job industry. But, the basic principles governing a plant layout are more or less the same. Cost of Production: The all time concern of big industries is the ever rising cost of production. Their priority would be mass production or continuous production to factorise the economy of scale. This is possible where industries are involved in producing highly standardized products. Industries involved in the production of customized or specialized products, catering to premium customers, cannot go for mass production since it is not a feasible option. They have to dedicate separate lines of production for different products. Invariable of the type of production, all industries need to cut down their costs wherever possible. The only possible solution is to design a suitable layout that facilitates uniform and minimum movement of materials thus avoiding wastage, minimization of production delays and avoidance of bottlenecks. An ideally laid plant layout reduces manufacturing costs through reduced materials handling, reduced personnel and equipment requirements and reduced in-process inventory. It is amazing how industries in Japan have mastered the art of employing Just-in-time concept, which focuses on continuous improvement and increases the rate of return on investment by reducing the in-process inventory and associated costs. The importance of plant layout would be better appreciated if one understands the influence of an efficient layout on the manufacturing function. An efficient plant layout would definitely incorporate the following aspects: Economies in handling-cut down material handling costs that account for 30-40 percent of the manufacturing cost Effective use of available space-especially in urban areas, where every inch of available space is an asset. Minimization of production delays-on time delivery schedules and speedy execution will help. Improved quality control-to reach expected standards of production Minimum equipment investment-by planned machine balance and location Identification and rectification of bottlenecks-don’t allow materials to pile up at any place of production, don’t allow workers to be lethargic, keep the machines in the best of condition to speed up operations Better production control-facilitated by a planned layout Better supervision-a good plant layout enables the supervisor to have a hawks eye on the entire shop floor Improved utilization of labor-process flow should be planned in such a way that workers should be equipped all the time without any lull Improved employee morale-by providing better working conditions, employee facilities, increased earnings, reduced accidents etc. , Scope for Expansion: A good plant layout must also have scope for expansion or revision in future. Even best layouts become obsolete over a period of time, so revisions ranging from minor alterations to a complete dismantling of the existing structure and installation of a new layout become necessary from time to time. Manufacturers, who are keen to survive the global competition, must consider revising their layouts which should fall in line with technological and market...
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Materials Handling

Materials Handling
Materials Handling Minimize Movement and Maximize Productivity Manufacturing organizations handle many types of materials in their production environment. Raw materials, materials-in-progress, finished goods, accessories, components, packaging materials, maintenance and repair supplies, scrap and many more must be handled in an efficient manner to make the operations cost-effective and to avoid wastage. The principle behind material handling process is said to be “no handling”, which is not practicable in reality. So it would be appropriate to say, that the objective of materials handling would be, to reduce the number of handlings as well as reducing the distances through which the materials are handled. Why efficient materials handling is inevitable in a manufacturing set-up? The movement of materials from the receiving area to the shipping area through the production line does not add value to the product but only to the cost. Further, plant layout and materials handling are complementary to each other. A production facility must incorporate a good plant layout that enhances the efficiency of movement of materials with ease and should deliver maximum productivity. Principles for Efficient Materials Handling There are certain principles that serve as a guide for efficient materials handling. These provide a framework for selecting specific materials handling equipments that form the core of the production system. Eliminate handling-If not, reduce the distance travelled by the materials Keep moving-If not, reduce the time spent at crucial points Simple patterns of material flow is appreciated-If not, reduce back tracking, cross overs, congestion Carry pay loads Carry full loads Use reliable and inexpensive source of power Materials handling should be considered in the light of movement of men, machines, tools and information. It also depends on the type of product manufactured, quantity, value and size of the organization. Cost effectiveness can be achieved if the firm is able to reduce the manufacturing cycle time through faster movement of materials and thus work-in-progress inventory costs can also be controlled and reduced. Design of the plant layout that facilitates sequential flow of materials through the production facility, improved working conditions, safety in the movement of materials, contribution to better quality by avoiding damage to the materials due to inefficient handling and workers being appraised about the importance of smooth materials handling result in higher productivity at lower manufacturing cost. Interested in being served food by Robots! Factors to considered while deciding on material handling equipments: Adaptability, flexibility, load capacity, power, speed, nature of supervision required, space requirements, ease of maintenance, environment friendliness and cost are some of the factors to be taken into consideration while deciding on the type of material handling equipments. Also the capabilities of manpower to operate the equipment and safety of personnel cannot be overlooked. It is important to select and design, materials handling system that are expensive to purchase and operate. For instance, if overhead cranes are to be used, the structure of the building should be strong enough to support the installation. Spacious aisles are mandatory if the loads are heavy and transported across the shop floors. Equipments used: Elevators, hoists, industrial trucks like fork-lift trucks, pallet trucks, pipelines, automatic transfer devices, automated guided vehicles, and industrial robots are some of the handling equipments that have found their ideal place in this process. Materials handling activity should be evaluated like any other activity to gauge its effectiveness. The focus should be on the manufacturing cycle efficiency, equipment utilization, percentage of time lost, total number of moves and material handling costs as percentage of manufacturing...
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