Plant layout


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Outline of Contents:
What is Plant layout?
Necessity of good layout
Factors affecting good layout
Principles of good layout
Advantages of good layout
Symptoms of poor layout
Types of layout

Plant layout refers to the arrangement of physical facilities such as machines, equipment, tools, furniture etc. in such a manner so as to have quickest flow of material at the lowest cost and with the least amount of handling in processing the product from the receipt of raw material to the delivery of the final product. Plant Layout is a plan of an optimum arrangement of facilities including personnel, operating equipment, storage space, material handling equipments and all other supporting services along with the design of best structure to contain all these facilities. A good layout is one which allows material rapidly and directly for processing. This reduces transport handling, clerical and other costs down per unit. Space requirement are minimized and it reduces idle machine time and idle time of man.

Necessity of good plant layout

Minimization of material handling
Optimum utilization of available floor space
Elimination of bottlenecks through balancing of all capacities

Minimization o production delays
Easy supervision and better manpower resources through elimination of idle time

Elimination of physical efforts required by workers
Elimination or improvement of objectionable operations. E.g. Operations with bad odor, vibrating operations etc.

Avoiding industrial accidents
Better working conditions like light, ventilation, noise control etc. Optimum utilization of machinery and equipment through proper use.

Minimization of cost so that product will be available at cheaper rate to customer and delivery in time.

Factors affecting facility Layout

Nature of plant-Engineering/Process Industry
Type of Production-Mass/Flow, Batch, Job Shop
Type of Production-Make to Stock/order, std/spec
Plant Location-Area available, building type-storey
Volume of Production-Scale of production
Types of machines and equipment-automation
Repairs and maintenance -Policy, schedule on site
Arrangement of material handling equipment
Future expansion plan

Principles of good Layout
Minimum Handling
Minimum investment
Integration of factors-3M
Minimum movement-Distance/Flow
Continuous flow-forward
Optimum utilization of available space
Maximum visibility
Maximum accessibility
Maximum Flexibility
Safety, Security and Satisfaction

Advantages of Good Plant Layout
Proper and efficient utilization of available floor space
Transportation of work from one point to another point without any delay Proper utilization of production capacity.
Reduce material handling costs
Utilize labor efficiently
Reduce accidents
Provide for volume and product flexibility
Provide ease of supervision and control
Provide for employee safety and health
Allow easy maintenance of machines and plant.
Improve productivity

Symptoms of Poor Layout
Delays and work stoppage in manufacturing process
Slow movement of material through the plant
Congestion of materials, components and work in progress
Poor utilization of space
High material handling and transportation costs
Excessive handling by skilled workers
Production cycles and delays in delivery
Mental or physical strain on operators
Difficulties in maintain effective supervision and control
Underutilization of machines and workers
Lack of flexibility and difficulty in production planning and control

Types Of Layout:
There are mainly four types of plant layout:
(a) Product or line layout
(b) Process or functional layout
(c) Fixed position or location layout
(d) Combined or group layout

Product or line layout:
In this type of layout the machines and equipments are arranged in one line depending upon the sequence of operations required for the product. It is also called as line layout. The material moves to another machine sequentially without any backtracking or deviation i.e. the output of one machine becomes input of the next machine. It requires a very little material handling. It is used for mass production of standardized products.

Advantages of Product layout:
Low cost of material handling, due to straight and short route and absence of
backtracking Smooth and continuous operations
Continuous flow of work
Lesser inventory and work in progress
Optimum use of floor space
Simple and effective inspection of work and simplified production control

Lower manufacturing cost per unit
Disadvantages of Product layout:
Higher initial capital investment in special purpose machine (SPM) High overhead charges
Breakdown of one machine will disturb the production process.

Lesser flexibility of physical resources.

Process layout:
In this type of layout the machines of a similar type are arranged together at one place. This type of layout is used for batch production. It is preferred when the product is not standardized and the quantity produced is very small.

Advantages of Process layout
Lower initial capital investment is required.
There is high degree of machine utilization, as a machine is not blocked for a single product
The overhead costs are relatively low
Breakdown of one machine does not disturb the production process. Supervision can be more effective and specialized.
Greater flexibility of resources.
Disadvantages of Process layout:
Material handling costs are high due to backtracking
More skilled labour is required resulting in higher cost.
Work in progress inventory is high needing greater storage space More frequent inspection is needed which results in costly supervision Combined layout:
A combination of process & product layout is known as combined layout. Manufacturing concerns where several products are produced in repeated numbers with no likelihood of continuous production, combined layout is
followed Fixed position or location layout:

Fixed position layout involves the movement of manpower and machines to the product which remains stationary. The movement of men and machines is advisable as the cost of moving them would be lesser. This type of layout is preferred where the size of the job is bulky and heavy. Example of such type of layout is locomotives, ships, boilers, generators, wagon building, aircraft manufacturing, etc.

Advantages of Fixed position layout:
The investment on layout is very small. The layout is flexible as change in job design and operation sequence can be easily incorporated. Adjustments can be made to meet shortage of materials or absence of workers by changing the sequence of operations.

Disadvantages of Fixed position layout:

As the production period being very long so the capital investment is very high. Very large space is required for storage of material and equipment near the product. As several operations are often carried out simultaneously so there is possibility of confusion and conflicts among different workgroups.

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