Factors Influencing Plant Layout22/02/2020
Whatever be the type of layout being contemplated, the following factors are to be considered because these factors have got significant influence on the design of the layout.
- Man Factor
The man is very flexible element who can be made suitable for all sort of layouts.
Main considerations are as follows:-
(i) Safety and working conditions.
(ii) Man power requirements-skill level of workers, their number required and their training programme.
(iii) Man power utilization in the plant.
(iv) Human relations.
- Material Factor
It includes the various input materials like raw materials, semi-finished parts and materials in process scrap, finished products, packing materials, tools and other services.
The main considerations are:-
(i) Design and specifications of the product to be manufactured.
(ii) Quantity and variety of products and materials.
(iii) Physical and chemical characteristics of various input materials.
(iv) Component parts or material and their sequence of operations i.e. how they go together to generate the final product.
- Machinery Factor
The operating machinery is also one of the most important factors therefore all the information’s regarding equipment and the tools are necessary for inspection, processing and maintenance etc.
(i) The processes and methods should be standardized first.
(ii) Machinery and tools selections depend upon the type of process and method, so proper machinery and other supporting, equipment should be selected on the basis of volume of production.
(iii) Equipment utilization depends on the variation in production, requirements and operating balance. Machines should be used to their optimum levels of speed, feed and depth of cut.
(iv) Machinery requirement is mostly based on the process/method
(v) Maintenance of machines and replacement of parts is also important.
- Movement Factor
It mainly deals with the movement of men and materials. A good layout should ensure short moves and should always tend towards completion of product. It also includes interdepartmental movements and material handling equipment. This includes the flow pattern reduction of unnecessary handling, space for movement and analysis of handling methods.
- Waiting Factor
Whenever material or men is stopped, waiting occurs which costs money. Waiting includes handling cost in waiting area, money tied up with idle material etc.
Waiting may occur at the receiving point, materials in process, between the operations etc.
The important considerations in this case are:-
(a) Location of storage or delay points
(b) Method of storing
(c) Space for waiting
(d) Safeguard equipment for storing and avoiding delay.
- Service Factor
It includes the activities and facilities for personnel such as fire protection, lighting, heating and ventilation etc. Services for material such as quality control, production control, services for machinery such as repair and maintenance and utilities liked power, fuel/gas and water supply etc.
- Building Factor
It includes outside and inside building features, shape of building, type of building (single or multistory) etc.
- Flexibility Factor
This includes consideration due to changes in material, machinery, process, man, supporting activities and installation limitations etc. It means easy changing to new arrangements or it includes flexibility and expendability of layouts.
SEVEN MAJOR FACTORS AFFECTING PLANT LAYOUT
- Policies of management
It is important to keep in mind various managerial policies and plans before deciding plant layout.
Various managerial policies relate to future volume of production and expansion, size of the plant, integration of production processes; facilities to employees, sales and marketing policies and purchasing policies etc. These policies and plans have positive impact in deciding plant layout.
- Plant location
Location of a plant greatly influences the layout of the plant. Topography, shape, climate conditions, and size of the site selected will influence the general arrangement of the layout and the flow of work in and out of the building.
- Nature of the product
Nature of the commodity or article to be produced greatly affects the type of layout to be adopted. In case of process industries, where the production is carried in a sequence, product layout is suitable. For example, soap manufacturing, sugar producing units and breweries apply product type of layout. On the other hand in case of intermittent or assembly industries, process type of layout best suited. For example, in case of industries manufacturing cycles, typewriters, sewing machines and refrigerators etc., process layout method is best suited.
Production of heavy and bulky items need different layout as compared to small and light items. Similarly products with complex and dangerous operations would require isolation instead of integration of processes.
(4) Volume of production
Plant layout is generally determined by taking into consideration the quantum of production to be produced. There are three systems of production viz.,
(a) Job production
Under this method peculiar, special or non- standardized products are produced in accordance with the orders received from the customers. As each product is non- standardized varying in size and nature, it requires separate job for production. The machines and equipment’s are adjusted in such a manner so as to suit the requirements of a particular job.
Job production involves intermittent process as the work is carried as and when the order is received. Ship building is an appropriate example of this kind. This method of plant layout viz., Stationery Material Layout is suitable for job production.
(b) Mass production
This method involves a continuous production of standardized products on large scale. Under this method, production remains continuous in anticipation of future demand. Standardization is the basis of mass production. Standardized products are produced under this method by using standardized materials and equipment. There is a continuous or uninterrupted flow of production obtained by arranging the machines in a proper sequence of operations. Product layout is best suited for mass production units.
(c) Batch production
It is that form of production where identical products are produced in batches on the basis of demand of customers or of expected demand for products. This method is generally similar to job production except the quality of production.
Instead of making one single product as in case of job production a batch or group of products is produced at one time, It should be remembered here that one batch of products has no resemblance with the next batch. This method is generally adopted in case of biscuit and confectionary manufacturing, medicines, tinned food and hardware’s like nuts and bolts etc.
- Availability of floor space
Availability of floor space can be other decisive factor in adopting a particular mode of layout. If there is a scarcity of space, product layout may be undertaken. On the other hand more space may lead to the adoption of process layout.
- Nature of manufacturing process
The type of manufacturing process undertaken by a business enterprise will greatly affect the type of layout to be undertaken.
A brief mention of various processes is given us under:
(i) Synthetic process
Under this process two or more materials are mixed to get a product. For example, in the manufacture of cement, lime stone and clay are mixed.
(ii) Analytical process
This is just the reverse of synthetic process. Under this method different products are extracted from one material. For example, from crude oil, petroleum, gas, kerosene and coal tar etc. are extracted.
(iii) Conditioning process
Under this process the original raw material is given the shape of different products and nothing is added to it. Jute is an important example of this kind.
(iv) Extractive process
This method involves the extraction of a product from the original material by the application of heat or pressure. This involves the process of separation, for example, aluminium is separated from bauxite
- Repairs and maintenance of equipment and machines
The plant layout should be designed in such a manner as to take proper care with regard to repairs and maintenance of different types of machines and equipment being used in the industry. The machines should not be installed so closely that it may create the problems of their maintenance and repairs. It has been rightly said that “Not only should access to parts for regular maintenance such as oiling, be considered in layout but also access to machine parts and components when replacement and repair are fairly common”.