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Facility layout
Integrating phase of the design of productive systems. It is the physical expression of the technological choice, the capacity requirements, the process and job designs, the material handling and the communication systems that interconnect the process. Arrangement of machines, storage areas, and/or work areas usually within the confines of a physical structure, such as a retail store, an office, a warehouse, or a manufacturing facility. Physical configuration of departments, workstations, and equipments in the conversion process. It is arrangement of physical resources used to create the product.

Major objectives of layout

Providing enough production capacity.

Reducing material handling costs. Easy supervisions. Improvement in productivity. Efficient utilization labor . Increase in morale of the employee. Reducing accidents and hazards to personnel. Reducing congestion. Utilizing the space efficiently and effectively.

A Good Layout...
Reduces bottlenecks in moving people or material. Minimizes materials-handling costs. Reduces hazards to personnel. Utilizes labor efficiently. Increases morale. Utilizes available space effectively and efficiently. Provides flexibility. Provides ease of supervision. Facilitates coordination and face-to-face communication where appropriate.


Process-focused system, if the competitive priorities are for flexibility and quality, thus, technological choice and the organization of jobs make a functional layout e.g. machine shop layout. Product-focused system, if cost and product availability dominate the competitive priorities, then, the technological choices and job designs indicate a line layout e.g. production of high volume and standardized products.


Work is organized according to the function performed. The item being processed normally goes through a processing sequence but the work done and the sequence of processing varies. For each service center, the specification of what is to be accomplished determines the details of processing and the time required. A network of queues with variable paths or routes through the system, depending on the details of processing requirements.


These are appropriate for intermittent operations where work flow is not consistent for all output. Variable workflow occurs when variety of products or variation of single product are produced. Also called as functional layout or job-shop layout. In this layout similar equipments are grouped and located at one place like lathe, drilling machines etc. Workers should be highly skilled. Intensive job instructions should be given to them and technical supervision is required. These layouts are quick to change and adapt to the unique batches of the products.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages

Greater Flexibility Better and more efficient supervision possible through specialization Breakdowns can be taken care by shifting the job to another machine Capacity of different product line can be expanded easily. Better utilization of men and machine

More work in progress More floor space More distances traveled by the product.


It is appropriate for producing one standardized product, usually in large volume. It is also called as flow shop layout or straight line layouts. The machines are arranged according to the progressive steps by which the product is made. Examples: Chemical, paper, rubber, refineries, cement industry.

Decision to Organize Facilities by Product Adequate volume for reasonable equipment utilization. Reasonably stable product demand. Product standardization. Part interchangeably. Continuous supply of materials

LINE BALANCING Line Balancing is the process of assigning tasks to workstations in such a way that the workstations have approximately equal time requirements.

Precedence Requirements
Tool used in line balancing to display elemental tasks and sequence requirements. Sequence restriction must be observe and subsequent steps.

Cycle time and capacity Pertains to time and capacity of the machines or tools to perform one task. Thus, capacity would then be specified by the balance rather than by the market considerations.

Optimum Solutions

The best possible solution to meet the capacity requirement without any additional cost as to variable and fixed costs.

Line Balancing Problem

Work stations are arranged so that the output of one is an input to the next, i.e., a series connection. Layout design involves assigning one or more of the tasks required to make a product to work stations. The objective is to assign tasks to minimize the workers idle time, therefore idle time costs, and meet the required production rate for the line. In a perfectly balanced line, all workers would complete their assigned tasks at the same time (assuming they start their work simultaneously).

Line Balancing Problem

Unfortunately there are a number of conditions that prevent the achievement of a perfectly balanced line. The estimated times for tasks. The precedence relationships for the tasks. The combinatorial nature of the problem. This would result in no idle time.

The production rate required from the product layout or the cycle time. The cycle time is the reciprocal of the production rate and vice versa. All of the tasks required to make the product. It is assumed that these tasks cannot be divided further. The estimated time to do each task The precedence relationships between the tasks:

Tasks precedence relationships

a. These relationships are determined by the technical constraints imposed by the product. b. These relationships are displayed as a network known as a precedence diagram.

Design Procedure
If not provided, find the cycle time for the line. Remember the cycle time is the reciprocal of the production rate. Make sure the cycle time is expressed in the same time units as the estimated task times. Select the line-balancing heuristic that may be used to help with the assignments. (Two heuristics are described at the end of this procedure.) Open a new work station with the full cycle time remaining.

Design Procedure
Determine which tasks are feasible, i.e., can be assigned to this work station at this time. For a task to be feasible, two conditions must be met: 1.) All tasks that precede that task must have already been assigned 2.) The estimated task time must be less than or equal to the remaining cycle time for that work station. 5. If there are no feasible tasks, assignments to that work station are complete. Go back to step 3 (or stop, if all tasks have been assigned). If there is only one feasible task, assign it to the work station. If there is more than one feasible task, use the heuristic (step 2) to determine which task to assign. Reduce the work stations remaining cycle time by the selected tasks time and return to step 4.

Line-Balancing Heuristics

Heuristic methods Incremental Utilization Heuristic Longest-Task-Time Heuristic

Heuristic methods Based on simple rules, have been used to develop very good, not optimal, solutions to line balancing problems.

Incremental Utilization Heuristic

Adds tasks to a workstation one at a time in the order of task precedence until utilization is 100% or is observed to fall.

Longest-Task-Time Heuristic Adds tasks to a workstation one at a time in the order of task precedence, choosing - when a choice must be made - the task with the longest time.

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