Features Of A Process Layout Computer Science Essay

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Layout refers to the arrangement of physical facilities such as machinery, equipment, furniture etc. within the workshop area 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 of the product from the receipt of material to the shipment of the finished product.

It mainly depends on the defining features of the process. There is no universal template or method of layout because there is no single quick fix. Equipment, process, flow, and building plans have such a major effect on layout and they vary broadly. Variable factors in the facility will be unique, so layout will be unique. A successful layout must consider work done; flow and routing of output; equipment size, capability and capacity keeping in mind product mix; crew sizes and skills; inventory and cycle time goals; objects handling and safety. 

A new layout or changes in the existing one will call for work and thought and later, cost to implement but benefits can pay back the investment.

Advantages of a thoughtful layout

By analysing and improving workplace (and workspace) layout, it is possible to:

Position today's output, personnel, process and equipment efficiently within the facility. 

Organize and cut through the "spaghetti" flow that adds distance and confusion. Optimize product flow through the method, make it visible. Simplify and lessen product and personnel movement.

Place work stations and inventory to intensify their interactions.

Add output, capacity and utilization by relieving space constraints.

Diminish handling and damage to product.

Simplify organization of material from receiving through delivery.

Allow for future expected growth or consolidation.

Key factors to achieve successful layouts

The two most important reasons for creating a layout are to generate a better flow pattern for materials and / or people in an existing area; or to set up a new or different facility. 

In either case, it is important first to define the requests for use of the space, the contents, major access points, building limitations, regulations affecting the space including floor loads, rest rooms, fire codes and emergency routes. Then, plot several options as "block" layouts, and choose an efficient, safe, long lasting arrangement with good flow. Finally, detail the "block" layout down to the level essential to install equipment, furnishings, utilities and connections. 

The type of inventory system in use is also a major factor in a manufacturing layout. Will material be supplied Just in Case, the traditional Materials Requirement Planning technique, or will the focus be on a lean process, or Just In Time delivery. Know what system you will use, in order to assign the correct amount of space to materials, in the appropriate places.

A successful layout first considers the variable factors that define your conditions and objectives, then creates a productive flow, then fits that flow into the physical geometry of your equipment and facilities. A good flow pattern for materials and people should be a motivating force for any layout. It may not be possible to quantify the benefits, but many productive practices follow from a careful layout; materials movement without retracing steps, visibility of inventory and of work, easy access of direct and support people, better material handling, safety, housekeeping, emergency routes.

The classic method to increase room is to move into storage space, warehouses for instance. That often can be a practical option, especially if a concurrent goal is to reduce inventory.

A prerequisite to a layout is to define material handling into an area, considering material dimensions and weight, overhead lift, trucks, conveyors, etc. Also decide how materials will be provided, because while overhead supply is much easier it also can block access so equipment and interfere with sight lines and vision.

A recent client believed that his current layout did not reflect management's desire for employees to enjoy their working environment, and we created much less cluttered, safer, conditions with a layout. He also wanted to be able to show off the highly capable modern equipment to his potential customers; that is possible today.

Layout Implementation

Layouts tend to be fixed in place for a long time, because a new one can be costly and cause disruption as it is installed. And too, a layout will possibly be obsolescent soon after it is put in due to new equipment or product or a shift in volumes. There is no magic solution to this dilemma. Only solution is to try and create "pockets" of empty floor space in the layout, with nothing physically installed there. Then when a new requirement arises, we can have room to manoeuvre.

Types of layout

Product or Line Layout:

In a product (or line) layout, various facilities, such as machine, equipment, work force, etc., are positioned as per the sequence of operation on parts. Even if a facility (or machine) is needed again after few other operations, we duplicate the facility at every required sequence. Product layout is ideal when production is continuous, part variety is less, production volume is high and part demand is relatively stable.



Product layout


Advantages of Product Layout:

Less work in process (WIP) inventory, as the flow of material is continuous along a line.

Compared to process layout, it requires less space for same volume of production.

Material handling by the conveyors or automation in the material handling is cost effective, as the flow of material is well known.

The through-put time (or product cycle time) is less as compared to process layout. This is due to less chance of blocking and less waiting time on machine.

Simple production planning and control and better synchronization of different activities may be achieved by this process.

The skill level of workers may be lesser, as a particular worker has to do a particular operation, which seldom changes due to standardized production line.

The flow of material is smooth and constant.

Limitations of Product Layout:

Change in product plan is difficult to accommodate.

Product range is very much limited.

Breakdown of a particular machine in line bring to a standstill the production output.

Capital investment in machines may be higher as compared to process layout as repetition of machines in line may be needed.

The flexibility to boost the production capacities is limited.

Process Layout:

Process layout is also called functional layout. Similar machines or operations are located at one place as per their functions. For example, all drilling operations are carried out at one place while all lathes are kept at a separate location. Grinding or finishing operations are kept at a separate location. This functional grouping of facilities is helpful for job production and non-repetitive manufacturing environment.


Example of a Process-type layout



Advantages of Process Layout:

Preliminary investment in process layout is low.

Varied degree of machine utilization may be achieved in process layout as machine is not devoted to a single product.

Greater flexibility and hence scope of expansion exist.


Limitations of Process Layout:

There is high degree of material managing. Parts may have to backtrack in the same department.

Large work in-process inventory is common. This requires more storage area.

Workers are more skilled. This is because of variety in products demand and difference in design. Therefore, labour cost is high.

Total cycle time is high. This is due to waiting in different departments and longer material flow.

Inspection is more regular which results in higher supervision cost.

 It is difficult to fix liability for a defect or quality problem. The work moves in different departments in which the machine preference is not predetermined. Therefore, which machine or which operator was faulty during a quality lapse may be difficult to trace in some cases.

The production planning and control is comparatively difficult.

Fixed Position Layout:

In fixed position layout, the main product being produced is fixed at a particular location. Resources, such as tools, manual labour and material are brought to that fixed location. This type of layout is useful when the product being processed is very big, heavy or hard to move. Some examples of fixed position layout are shipbuilding, aircraft assembly, wagon building, etc.



Example of a Fixed Position Layout

Advantages of Fixed Position Layout:

Easy and convenient for products which are difficult to move.

Flexibility for change in design, operation progression, labour availability, etc., exists in this layout.

 This layout is very cost effective when many orders of similar type exist in different stages of production.

 Large project types of jobs such as construction are suited for this layout.

Limitations of Fixed Position Layout:

High capital investment due to long period to complete a product.

Space requirement for storage of material and equipment is large.

It requires careful project planning and focussed attention on decisive activities otherwise confusion, delay and conflict may arise.



Cellular or Group Layout:

Cellular layout is based on the group technology (GT) principle. Therefore, it is also called as group layout. This layout is suitable for a manufacturing situation in which large variety of products are needed in small volumes (or batches). The group technology principle suggests that parts, which are similar in design or manufacturing operations, are collected into one family, called part-family. 

For each part-family a dedicated Cluster of machines (called machine cell) are recognized. Generally, all the processing requirements of a particular part-family are completed in its corresponding machine ceil. In other words, the inter cell transfer UT part should ideally be zero."

Example of a Group technology or cellular layout


The cellular layout is thus a combination of process and product layout. Therefore, it possesses the characteristics of both. Cellular manufacturing system (CMS) involves decomposition of manufacturing system into subsystems of like parts/machines. CMS allows batch production to give economical advantages similar to those of mass production with supplementary advantages of flexibility, normally associated with job shop production systems.


The current layout of the Engine Assembly department is a line layout in which the machines and equipments are arranged in one line depending upon the sequence of operations required for making the product in a single piece production.

The engine block moves from one workstation to another sequentially without any backtracking or deviation and different parts are assembled to the block to obtain a final product.

Under this, machines are grouped in one sequence. Therefore materials are fed into the first machine and finished goods travel automatically from machine to machine, the output of one machine becoming input of the next.

The current layout is designed for mass production of standardized products in a very organized and highly efficient manner.

Simple and repetitive manufacturing processes are performed and monitored by a group of trained engineers and workers for eliminating errors and continuous functioning of the assembly.

Continuous supply of materials is done in order to keep the processes going without any stop. Therefore a heavy watch on the supply of materials required on the line is a must.


MBC: It is the device designed to fit around the crankshaft to keep it in place. It consists of an aluminium alloy with a steel core. The cap has a supporting surface for the bearing shell. The supporting surface is the outer surface of a 3 mm thick aluminium layer outside the steel core.

Piston: A piston is a component of reciprocating engines, pumps and gas compressors. It is located in a cylinder and is made gas-tight by piston rings.

Connecting Rods: In a reciprocating piston engine, the connecting rod or conrod connects the piston to the crank or crankshaft. Together with the crank, they form a simple mechanism that converts linear motion into rotating motion

Bearing: A bearing is a device to allow constrained relative motion between two or more parts, typically rotation or linear movement.

Crankshaft: crankshaft is the part of an engine which translates reciprocating linear piston motion into rotation. To convert the reciprocating motion into rotation, the crankshaft has "crank throws" or "crankpins".

Bolt sealing: This means comprises a sleeve in envelopment of a tie bolt which penetrates a coolant chamber formed within a plurality of adjoined housing components.

Angle torque: torque angle are used to establish the onset of the thread stripping and joint compression failure. Measuring the angle of turn of the bolt/nut is an indirect way of measuring bolt extension/joint deformation.

Snug torque: The torque required to pull plates together so that direct contact occurs; often used in angle control tightening. The snug torque ensures that metal to metal contact occurs at all the interfaces within the joint. It is only at this point that the required angle of rotation start in order that the bolt is tightened sufficiently. The snug torque is usually determined experimentally on the actual joint.

Oil pump assembly: The pump that circulates the oil. The inlet to the pump is fitted with a fine-meshed screen to strain the oil before it enters the pump.

Tensioner: A tensioner is a device that applies a force to an object to maintain it intension. Often the amount of force is adjustable. There are tensioners for applying a tensioning force to drive belts and chains, fibers, and bolts.

Oil strainer: The strainer has a meshed filter and a filter supporting plate with ribs forming lattice and is arc-shaped in cross section. Oil Strainers effectively prevent dirt, scale, and other particles from clogging downstream orifices.

Oil Seal: The function of the oil seal is to stop whatever fluid is inside from leaking out the clearance between the shaft and housing. The seal may also be used to prevent outside materials, such as dirt, from moving in through the clearance.

Bearing clutch pilot: the pilot bearing keeps the input shaft on the trans centre and does not allow axial movement of the input shaft, thus saving the trans bearings some wear.

Flywheel: A flywheel is a mechanical device with a significant moment of inertia used as a storage device for rotational energy. Flywheels resist changes in their rotational speed, which helps steady the rotation of the shaft 

Clutch plate: A clutch is a mechanical device which provides driving force to another mechanism, typically by connecting the driven mechanism to the driving mechanism. Its opposite component is a brake, which inhibits motion.

Drive plate: A disk-like body has first holes arranged in a central portion in a circumferentially spaced manner for a fixing to a crankshaft, second holes arranged in a radially outer portion in a circumferentially spaced manner for a fixing to a torque converter, rigidity-controlling first openings arranged in vicinities of the second holes, and rigidity-controlling second openings all arranged simply between circumferentially neighbouring ones of the first openings.

Oil pan/sump: A oil pan/sump is a lubricating oil management design for four-stroke piston internal combustion engines which uses a built-in reservoir for oil, as opposed to an external or secondary reservoir used in a dry sump design.

Differential: A differential is a device, employing gears, capable of transmitting torque and rotation through three shafts, almost always used in one of two ways: in one way, it receives one input and provides two outputs--this is found in most automobiles--and in the other way, it combines two inputs to create an output that is the sum, difference, or average, of the inputs.

Camshaft: A camshaft is a shaft to which a cam is fastened or of which a cam forms an integral part.

Rocker arm: Generally referred to within the internal combustion engine of automotive, marine, motorcycle and reciprocating aviation engines, the rocker arms a reciprocating lever that conveys radial movement from the cam lobe into linear movement at the poppet valve to open it.

Breather Cover: breather cover prevent excessive pressure or vacuum build up in sealed containers, which reduces container weight , cube and cost.

Engine Harness: A harness, also known as a wire harness, cable assembly, wiring assembly or wiring loom, is a string of cables and/or wires which transmit informational signals or operating currents (energy) in cars.

Tappet: A tappet in mechanical engineering is a projection which imparts a linear motion to some other component within an assembly.

Timing belt: A timing belt, or cam belt (informal usage), is a part of an internal combustion engine that controls the timing of the engine's valves.

ACG: In electricity generation, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. The reverse conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy is done by a motor; motors and generators have many similarities.

Inlet manifold: In automotive engineering, an intake manifold or inlet manifold is the part of an engine that supplies the fuel/air mixture to the cylinders.