Here an attempt is made to introduce some of the advantages of a line layout into a situation where pure line layout is not practicable. Here machines are placed in groups. Each machine group makes a family of parts which require similar treatment. This layout lies between process layout and line layout. It is easier to control than a strictly process layout and has more flexibility than a line layout. These days there is a tendency to bring an element if flexibility into the manufacturing system as regards the batch size variations and the different operations sequences.
FMS — Flexible Manufacturing System was first installed in England in 1968. It employed group layout and is suitable for metal cutting, electronic assembly IC manufacturing and testing etc. FMS is a mixture of traditional automation and state-of-the-art computer technology which essentially consist of a set of machine tools performing production operations linked up with material handling system. All these are controlled by a central computer system. FMS has several patterns of CNS (computerized numerical control machines):
1. Flexible Manufacturing Module (FMM)
2. Flexible Manufacturing Cell (FMC)
3. Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS).
4. Flexible Manufacturing line (FML)
The grouping into cells enables the performance of similar type of functions for a group of products. A shop floor is converted into a collection of cells; one for each product. Every cell moves according to its own rhythm, producing complete from scratch. There is no waiting time involved. This reduces costs. The money tied up in idle machinery or partly assembled products is released quickly.
Job Shop Layout
Here there is processing of job production, and hence the system is very flexible. The layout depends upon the analysis of the universe of orders received and is a very complex affair.
Plant Layout Factors
There are a host of factors that affect the plant layout. It is necessary to optimize these to have an ideal layout. The factors have been grouped into the following clusters:
1. Manpower factors.
2. Machinery factors
3. Movement factors.
4. Material factors.
5. Waiting factors.
6. Service factors.
7. Factory building factors.
8. Change related factors.
All these groups have a number of features which are borne in mind before attempting the layout. The ultimate layout design is a compromise amongst the diverse factors.