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INTRODUCTION: This is also popularly known as Cellular manufacturing.

The group technology layout is a hybrid between product layout and process layout. The group technology layout meets the needs of both automated factories and flexible manufacturing system. A product is the final assembly of individual parts and components in subsequent stages of value addition by conversion by way of machining, fabrication, etc. as explained at the beginning of this chapter or by assembly. The final product can be used by the end- user for its intended use. This is the level zero. We break the product into major sub-assemblies, sub-assemblies to individual parts and components till the parts or raw material is sourced from outside. This process is known as the explosion of the product into individual components and raw materials at various levels of zero, one,two,etc. These levels show the entry point of the part or the components and after entry how many times it will undergo conversion to be part of the final assembly. After this process, the parts are grouped together depending upon the similarity in the process of

manufacturing. This is known as formation of group by segregation. final process is adding up all the identical parts in the same group, together known as aggregation. This process of grouping the parts and components on the basis of similar processes of manufacturing is known as explosion, segregation and aggregation. The production of each individual group having similar manufacturing process is accomplished by a group of machines arranged sequentially as per the process requirement. The production batch is small, but the layout of the machines of each group is similar to the line layout or the product layout. This is like a group of small plants separated on the basis of process differentiation, but combined together to form the main plant. This is part of the Flexible Manufacturing system [FMS]. The items handled under the Group Technology are the Dependent Demand Items. Dependent demand items are the items which are part of the final assembly or the final product.

These individual groups of items in a particular group are produced in a cell where the number of machines is laid as per the manufacturing technology of converting the raw materials into finished components or the sub- assembly. This is the reason why group technology is also known as cellular manufacturing where parts are grouped in sub-families on similarities of manufacturing functions. Each sub-family needs similar machines and similar processing. Group technology is suitable for large firms producing a wide variety of parts to moderate on high volumes. The processing required by each family can be performed within the cell where the machines are arranged to accommodate a common flow pattern for the parts of the family. Group technology is thus a concept of organizing the manufacturing resources to increase productivity in the process focused small lot situations involving parts and

products that are similar. The result is a group of small plants within a plant. Group technology is a hybrid between process layout and product layout. For similar types of components, similar machines are grouped together in a process focused system, but the flow of the family of parts or products would be arranged in a line fashion. This grouped equipment can be arranged in a sequence that fits the various sizes and types very well. Group technology concepts can include a computerized classification and codification system. The coding system exploits the commonalities in the family of parts and products and can be coupled to Computer Aided Design, Computer Aided manufacturing and integrating them together into Computer Integrated Manufacturing [CIM]. CIM reduces the set-up time to bare minimum, usually to a few minutes reducing the pressure of lot sizes on the production and making it adapt to a small lot size production and frequent deliveries as per just In-Time as well as flexible Manufacturing system.

The group technology is the best form of plant layout. It has the combined benefit of the product and process layout without their disadvantages. It thus makes the only and the best type of plant layout for a world-class manufacturing system. Group technology has the following 1.Group technology combines the benefit of both the product and process layout. 2.Group technology reduces work-in-process by production smoothing and line balancing. Small lot sizes also reduce the work-in-process and inventory in the system. 3.Group technology reduces set-up time by the use of modernized computer integrated advantages:

technology and individual similar jobs in the same group. 4.Group Technology reduces material handling cost by automation of the material handling system. 5.Group technology leads to better scheduling. 6.Group technology makes the optimum use of the input resources like men, machines and material. 7.Group technology is the most efficient and effective form of the plant layout system.

1.There is difficulty in grouping into sub-families. 2.In group technology, the flow analysis may be difficult. 3.Sometimes group technology may need duplication of machine tools in separate cells which can be overcome by creating a technology centre within the GT cell.

Types of group technology layout:

There are three types of group technology layouts, giving it further adaptability to the world class manufacturing system and giving the best results.

1.Group technology flow line:

When the product families are closely related and quantity per product ratio is high, group technology flow line is applicable for the best result.Process routes have close relationship with each product being processed.Group technology flow line is line flow within a family.It gives advantages of both line layout, i.e. excellent equipment utilization and broader job design. Group technology flow line gives the best benefit of the manufacturing system where close relationship with each product category exists in line with the processing route being followed for each individual product.Group technology flow line gives the highest productivity and production efficiency with the least cost of processing.

2.Group technology cell:

Group technology cell concept is applied when processing flow for the families of parts are different.Here, neither the group technology flow line nor the group technology centre concepts can be applied.For this kind of parts and components, all the operations for one or more of the families of parts are accomplished by a group technology cell that contains the alignment and presence of the necessary equipment needed to accomplish the necessary tasks.The group technology cell concept is then replicated to accommodate different families of parts.The group technology cell concept represents a compromise between the Gt flow line and Gtcentre. The complexity and variety of the components accommodated in the group technology cell are more. The productivity and ease of control of group technology flow line are better than in the group technology cell.

3.Group technology centre:

In the group technology centre concept, the groups with similar processing equipment are placed together as in the case of functional layout but the equipments are located in such a manner that a art family can be processed by the same equipment as far as possible. This is exacly similar to the group technology flow line plant layout but skips the line or the cell to avail of processing a costly and special machine which is not available in the cell or the line. The part may or may not come back to its original group or the line depednding upon the stage of processing. This group technology layout mainly avoids duplication of costly machines having spare capacity to accommodate parts of the other group.

Cellular Manufacturing:
In cellular manufacturing, production work stations and equipment are arranged in a sequence that supports a smooth flow of materials and components through the production process with minimal transport or delay. Implementation of this lean method often represents the first major shift in production activity, and it is the key enabler of increased production velocity and flexibility, as well as the reduction of capital requirements. Rather than processing multiple parts before sending them on to the next machine or process step (as is the case in batch-and-queue, or large-lot production), cellular manufacturing aims to move products through the manufacturing process one-piece at a time, at a rate determined by customers' needs. Cellular manufacturing can also provide companies with the flexibility to vary product type or features on the production line in response to specific customer demands. The approach seeks to minimize the time it takes for a single product to flow through the entire production process. This one-piece flow method includes specific analytical techniques for assessing current operations and designing a new cell-based manufacturing layout that will shorten cycle times and changeover times. To make the cellular design work, an organization must often replace large, high volume production machines with small, flexible, "right-sized" machines to fit well in the cell. Equipment often must be modified to stop and signal when a cycle is complete or when problems occur, using a technique called autonomation.

This transformation often shifts worker responsibilities from watching a single machine, to managing multiple machines in a production cell. While plant-floor workers may need to feed or unload pieces at the beginning or end of the process sequence, they are generally freed to focus on implementing TPM and process improvements. Using this technique, production capacity can be incrementally increased or decreased by adding or removing production cells.

Method and Implementation Approach

Cellular manufacturing requires a fundamental paradigm shift from "batch and queue" mass production to production systems based on a product aligned "one-piece flow, pull production" system. Batch and queue systems involve mass-production of large inventories in advance, where each functional department is designed to minimize marginal unit cost through large production runs of similar product with minimal tooling changes. Batch and queue entails the use of large machines, large production volumes, and long production runs. The system also requires companies to produce products based on potential or predicted customer demands, rather than actual demand, due to the lag-time associated with producing goods by batch and queue functional department. In many instances this system can be highly inefficient and wasteful. Primarily, this is due to substantial "work-in-process", or WIP, being placed on hold while other functional departments complete their units, as well as the carrying

costs and building space associated with built-up WIP on the factory floor. The figure to the left illustrates the production flow in a batch-and-queue system, where the process begins with a large batch of units from the parts supplier. The parts make their way through the various functional departments in large "lots", until the assembled products eventually are shipped to the customer. The following steps and techniques are commonly used to implement the conversion to cellular manufacturing. Step 1: Understanding the Current Conditions. The first step in converting a work area into a manufacturing cell is to assess the current work area conditions, starting with product and process data. For example, PQ (product type/quantity) analysis is used to assess the current product mix. Organizations also typically document the layout and flow of the current processes using process route analyses and value stream mapping (or process mapping). The next activity is often to measure time elements, including the cycle time for each operation and the lead time required to transport WIP between operations. Takt time, or the number of units each operation can produce in a given time, is another important time element to assess. Time elements are typically recorded on worksheets that graphically display the relationship between manual work time, machine work time, and operator movement time for each step in an operation. These worksheets provide a baseline for measuring performance under a cellular flow.

Step 2: Converting to a Process-based Layout. The next step involves converting the production area to a cellular layout by rearranging the process elements so that processing steps of different types are conducted immediately adjacent to each other. For example, machines are usually placed in U or C shape to decrease the operator's movement, and they are placed close togther with room for only a minimal quantity of WIP. The process flow is often counterclockwise to maximize right hand maneuvers of operators. To enable a smooth conversion, it is typically necessary to evaluate the machines, equipment, and workstations for movability and adaptability, then develop a conversion plan. In many cases, it is helpful to mock-up a single manufacturing cell to assess its feasibility and performance. The figure to the right illustrates the flow in a cellular production environment, where parts are pulled into the system as signaled by customer demand. Several techniques are important to facilitate effective cellular layout design and production.

SMED. Single-minute exchange of die (SMED) enables an organization to quickly convert a machine or process to produce a different product type. A single cell and set of tools can therefore produce a variety of products without the time consuming equipment changeover and set-up time associated with large batch-and-queue processes, enabling the organization to quickly respond to changes in customer demand.

Autonomation.Autonomation is the transfer of human intelligence to automated machinery so that machines are able to stop, start, load, and unload automatically. In many cases, machines can also be designed to detect the production of a defective part, stop themselves, and signal for help. This frees operators for other value-added work. This concept has also been known as "automation with a human touch" and jidoka, and it was pioneered by Sakichi Toyoda in the early 1900s when he invented automatic looms that stopped instantly when any thread broke. This enabled one operator to manage many machines without risk of producing vast amounts of defective cloth. This technique is closely linked to mistake-proofing, or poka-yoke (see TPM method profile).

Right-sized equipment. Conversion to a cellular layout frequently entails the replacement of large equipment (sometimes referred to as monuments) with smaller equipment. Right-sized equipment is often mobile, so that it can quickly be reconfigured

into a different cellular layout in a different location. In some cases, equipment vendors offer right-sized equipment alternatives, and in other cases companies develop such equipment in-house. A rule of thumb is that machines need not be more than three times larger than the part they are intended to produce. After moving the equipment and ensuring quick changeover capabilities, organizations typically document new procedures for the new layout and train workers on the new production process. In many cases, workers from the affected processes participate in the conversion process. The new layout is also tested and measured against the baselines recorded in step 1 to confirm improvement. Step 3: Continuously Improving the Process. This step involves fine tuning all aspects of cell operation to further improve production time, quality, and costs. Kaizen, TPM, and Six Sigma are commonly used as continuous improvement tools for reducing equipment-related losses such as downtime, speed reduction, and defects by stabilizing and improving equipment conditions . In some cases, organizations seek to pursue a more systemic redesign of a production process to make a "quantum leap" with regard to production efficiencies and performance. Production Preparation Process (3P) is increasingly used as a method to achieve such improvement.

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