Plant layout is a plan for the proper arrangement of facilities that includes personnel, equipment’s, storage space, material handling equipment and all other supporting services along with the decision of best structure to contain all these facilities. In the following article, you will know the different types of facility layout.
According to Shubin, “Plant layout is the arrangement and location of production machinery, work centers’ and auxiliary facilities and activities (Expectation, handling of material storage and shipping) for the purpose of achieving efficiency in manufacturing products or supplying consumer services.”
Important 6 Types of Facility Layout
Facility/plant layouts have been categorized into the following types:
1. Designing Product Layout
Product Layout is also referred to as ‘Straight Line Layout’, ‘Line Processing Layout’, ‘Flow Line Layout, or ‘Layout for Serialized Manufacture’. The types of facility layout provides the arrangement of equipment in an order that represents their sequential role in the process of production. In the sequence, one end is the entry point of the raw material, while the other end is the exit point of the finished goods. In between these two points, various steps of the production cycle take place in a pre-decided order.
This category of layout is the most appropriate for the manufacturer of standardized products, which have bulk demand. The entire manufacturing process itself is routine, monotonous and repetitive. Each step of production or product life cycle, however, requires specialization in respect of workforce and equipment.
2. Designing Process Layout
Process Layout is also referred to as ‘Functional Layout’ or ‘Job Shop Layout’. It is one of the main types of facility layout.
This type of layout is characterized by the following:
1) The grouping of machines and services is done on the basis of their functions.
2) Areas are set aside for the operations of the same kind.
Departments are created on a functional premise, i.e. one type of function is carried out in one department, and another department carries out another type of function.
Such type of layout is generally used by the companies where:
1) The level of production is low.
2) Jobs are diversified; in other words, there needs to be standardization.
3) The order of each client is distinctive.
The sequence of operations changes with the changes in jobs, as each job involves a unique sequence of operations.
3. Fixed Position Layout
Under the fixed position layout, manufacturing the most important product is stable or fixed in one place. That location is the focal point of all the activities; all the pieces of machinery, equipment, tools, components, labor, etc., are brought to that site. Such an arrangement (bringing men and machinery to the manufacturing site of the key product) is logical in view of the fact that between the option of moving the key product of enormous size and moving the men and machine to the site of production, the latter is convenient.
4. Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)
Under the Flexible Manufacturing System, various machines and work are connected through a robust transportation system, which ensures movement of work to respective machines in an automatic, swift and precise manner. Such a system uses pallets or other sophisticated interface units to accomplish the task.
Under FMS, there are clusters of processing work centers’, which are linked with each other through an automatic system of storage and material handling. The entire system is monitored and controlled by an integrated computerized terminal.
5. Cellular Manufacturing/Production Layout
Cellular Manufacturing Layout is a kind of layout wherein machines are put together in groups as per the process needs for a group of similar items, which are required to be put through similar processing. Such groups are referred to as ‘Cells’. Once the processing in one cell is completed, the processed end products are passed on to the next cell for further processing at their level. A cellular layout may, thus, be considered as an equipment layout designed to facilitate cellular manufacturing.
Under cellular manufacturing, types of facility layout, the processes are assembled into cells through group technology, which is associated with the identification of parts with the same features with respect to design (size, shape and functions) and processes (category of required processing, available machinery for undertaking that kind of processing and order of processing).
6. Hybrid or Combined Layout
A blend of two layouts, viz. process layout and product layout, is termed a hybrid/combined layout. The advantages of both layouts may be put to use to have a synergic benefit, provided the products manufactured have some level of similarities without any form of complexity.
The optimal facility layout aims to create a safe and simple flow of people, work-in-process and information. There are different types of facility layout are designing product layout, designing process layout, fixed product layout, flexible manufacturing system, cellular manufacturing, hybrid layout.