Introduction to facilities layout

A factory is a place where all the industrial activities are housed. After the selection of the factory site, the factory building is constructed at the selected site. The problem of arrangement of various departments inside the factory building arises only after the availability of the floor area covered by the walls and roofs forming the factory building. It should be noted that, though the problem of factory and plant layout arises only after the building facilities have been made available, they are considered along with the construction of the factory building. Certain specific requirements of the administrative departments and the characteristics of the production processes and plant services have a direct bearing on the construction of the factory building. Thus both factory building and factory layout are considered simultaneously. The architectural design and the exterior view of the factory are considered with the technical requirement of various departments. The emphasis is given to the technical aspects rather than the aesthetic considerations.

Factors like owned or hired building, new construction or readymade building, single storey or multi-storey building have a considerable effect on the decision of the arrangement of various departments inside the factory. A distinction between the factory layout and the plant layout should be noted carefully. The factory layout is a broad consideration and it decides about the housing of all activities inside the factory. Generally the activities are divided into the following groups:

1. Office area in which the administrative department are housed;
2. Plant area which houses the following activities:
3. Production departments,
4. Services departments,

Technical Services — like receiving department store-room, stock room, tool-room inspection department, power house or boiler room material handling equipment, shipping department etc.

Personal Services — Like parking area, time-keeper’s office, canteen and lunch room, recreation room, toilets etc.

In relation to factory layout plant layout is a narrow consideration and concentrate on the arrangements of production and services departments along with the location and sequence of machines and equipment.

Ideal Plant Layout

Plant layout is the overall arrangement of the production processes, store room, stock room, tool room, materials handling equipment, aisles, racks and sub stores, employee services and all other accessories required for facilitating the production in the factory. As it encompasses production and service facilities and provides for the most effective utilization of the men, materials and machines constituting the process, it is a master blueprint for coordinating all operations performed inside the factory.

A good layout is one which allows materials rapidly and directly for processing. This reduces transport handling, clerical and other costs down per unit, space requirements are minimized and it reduces idle machine and idle man time.