Main Consideration for Production Line Layout Design

Two of the most basic elements of lean manufacturing rely on you optimising workflow and minimising waste. The way manufacturing workstations, machinery, and tools are arranged can affect everything from productivity and throughput to ergonomics. To have lean lines, you should be accommodating increased product variety without compromising quality or causing unnecessary waste.

Regardless of whether it's a high volume mix environment, flexibility is critical. Plenty of manufacturers struggle with issues relating to production line layout design, and one of the biggest reasons is because their products are frequently changing.

What is Factory Layout

A "layout" refers to a plan or draft of a detailed visualisation for later execution. In planning your layout, you should pay close attention to the actions and employee behaviours that you anticipate will take place in the factory. When planning where to locate machinery and workstations in a factory layout, it's important that you minimise internal transport in order to maximise efficiency and to keep costs low.

Whether it be machines and work tables, or warehousing elements and moving parts, it can be a challenge for a planner to come up with an optimum arrangement. The area needed for equipment and material is a critical component of planning everything from material flow to additional transport. Layout planning is a part of factory planning and it often has a horizon in the long term.

What is Factory Lean Plant Layout

The success of any manufacturing company depends heavily on the ability of the producing facility to adapt to the shifting market environment. "Lean Plant Output" focuses on value streams: specifically, those steps that add value to raw materials before its delivery to a customer. In contrast to vertical process departments like silos in a conventional facility layout, lean layouts are likely to combine processes horizontally throughout the factory.

With short product life cycles and a higher product variety, there is unpredictable demand and much shorter delivery times. Response to rising industrial productivity demands is one of the tools of lean manufacturing, and these difficulties can be overcome with current resources through plant layout optimization.

Main Considerations in a Production Line Layout Design

There are a variety of factors to consider when designing a plant layout. You first must think about your available space and how things can move.

You should also consider your process requirements. What are your operational and maintenance requirements along the way? Have you considered safety and fire hazards? Is there a good process flow without any interruption?

You should consider the degree of automation or human interference with your layout planning, because automation is going to make a big difference to your manufacturing facility. How you balance this with a human interference is important.

The Big Picture

A well thought out plant layout is the cornerstone of any successful manufacturing business. It can help to provide the basis for a streamlined production process; one that utilises space, labour and materials correctly.

It also makes it possible to use all available technologies and resources efficiently. Utilising these resources will enable you to cut costs while improving quality.

A well designed plant layout should reduce hazards and help to improve the overall operation of the manufacturing plant for a profitable, safer and more sustainable business.

The Conditions of the Shop Floor

Lean manufacturing is all about safety. When it comes to floor safety in your factory or manufacturing plant the rules are very simple.

When it comes to machining, you have to consider employee mistakes, breakdowns of equipment, rush orders and late shipping. There are many moving parts and without proper planning, mistakes are bound to happen.

You need to have evolving production landscapes and to consider smart manufacturers that are quickly adopting the latest businesses optimization strategies. You should ensure proper routing of materials on the shop floor and channel the processes and procedures effectively. If you have materials, they must be scheduled correctly, scheduling your workforce and other resources are also important so that you can follow them easily. Is there any loopholes in communication they should be located on patched as soon as possible and you can monitor for any deviations from the standard process is.

How Much Material Must be Moved to or From the Line?

To be effective in your material handling, you must consider factors that will impact the safety and success of transporting materials throughout your factory.

Moving goods should be achieved in a timely manner. In doing so, consider practises such as:

  • Safe material handling and ensuring that you use the best practice for material handling, which involves training your employees.
  • Automation. It's the catalyst for efficiency and if you want to improve your warehouse processes you need to leverage on this.
  • The put away process. To minimise transaction errors and save on space, you need to ensure that materials are put away the same day that they are received.
  • Optimum warehouse management systems. This monitors the travel time from receipt to storage and it will help you with tracing materials and knowing what your inventory is.
  • Organisation. Material handling is much more effective in a well-kept and organised warehouse.

Is the Line Fully Automated, or are There Operators at Work?

Automated manufacturing systems have played a massive role in the recovery from the recession, and if automation is here to stay, you need to make sure your human workforce are working in ways that maximise their potential and help these machines to excel.

The Surrounding Conditions

As Lean management is about the continuous improvement of operational processes. It's important that you to focus on reducing costs and ensuring that, if there is a potential for waste, that it is elimiated.

The Lenoch Engineering team is skilled at designing and assembling production lines. Our wide range of experiences in this field has taught us how to see the big picture right away and how to see details and take into account all the relevant factors during the production line design phase. If you are thinking about starting a new production line, then contact us and our experienced team will assist you. To learn more, please check out our Factory Tooling services.