Plant layout is placing of the right equipment coupled with right method in the right place to permit the processing of a product in the most effective manner through the shortest possible distance and shortest possible time. A Plant Layout involves:
1. Planning and arranging manufacturing machinery, equipment and services for the first time in new plants; 2. Te improvement in layouts already in use in order to introduce new methods and improvements in the manufacturing procedures.
Objectives of a good plant layout:
The following objectives can be attained by a proper design of layouts: 1. Economy in handling materials, WIP and finished goods. 2. Minimization of production delays.
3. Lesser WIP and minimum manufacturing cycle time.
4. Efficient utilization of available space.
5. Easy supervision and better production control.
6. Greater flexibility for changes in product design and future expansion. 7. Better working conditions by eliminating causes of excessive noise, smoke etc.
Plant Design: Plant layout factors:
The design of any layout is governed by a large number of factors and the best layout is expected to optimize all these factors. The factors can be categorized into eight groups: 1. The material factor to include products, variety, quantity, conversion operation and their sequence, physical and chemical characteristics of materials etc. 2. The machinery factor to include production methods, equipments and tools. 3. The man factor to include number of direct and indirect workmen, supervisory and service staff, safety, work environment etc. 4. The movement factor to include flow patterns, inter and intra departmental transport and handling at various operations, storage and inspection, space for movements, material-handling equipment etc. 5. The waiting factor to include number of temporary and permanent storages, their location etc. 6. The service factor to include provision of employee facilities (e.g. Locker rooms, parking lot, toilets etc), size and location of service departments (production control, maintenance etc), receiving and dispatch of materials etc. 7. The building factor to include the outside and inside building features, load bearing capacity of the floors etc. 8. The change factor to include versatility, flexibility, future expansion etc.
Criteria of a good plant layout:
The following criteria can be used to evaluate the merits of a layout: 1. Overall integration of pertinent factors: A good layout is one that integrates men, materials, machines and supporting activities in a way so that the best output is obtained. 2. Minimum movement: A good layout is one that permits the minimum movement between operations. Straight line is the shortest distance between any two points; hence men and materials as far as possible should be made to move along the straight path. 3. Uni-directional flow: A good layout makes the materials move only in the forward direction towards stage of completion, without any backtracking. 4. Effective use of available space: A good layout ensures best possible space management in horizontal as well as vertical direction. 5. Maximum visibility: In a good layout, men, machines and materials are readily observable at all times. 6. Maximum accessibility: All service and maintenance points should be readily accessible in a good plant layout. Machines should be kept sufficiently apart and with reasonable distance so that lubrication, adjustment and replacement of parts during repair can be done easily. 7. Minimum handling: A good layout reduces material handling activities to the minimum. 8. Inherent safety: A good layout ensures maximum safety to the workmen. Fire protection equipments should be kept at strategic locations. 9. Improved working condition: In a good layout the work centers are satisfying for the workmen. It should be free from smoke, dust, heat,...