Cellular Manufacturing & Plant Floor Layout
Cellular Manufacturing is NOT about building mobile phones. Well, usually not.
Then, what IS it?
Cellular Manufacturing is an important element of large and small industry today. It is defined as a group of workstations, machines or equipment arranged such that a product can be processed progressively from one workstation to another. That allows enhanced speed and time savings without having to wait for a batch to be completed or requiring additional handling between operations.
You may recall that a guy named Henry Ford first introduced automation to the production of cars. Cellular Manufacturing takes that long assembly line and trims it down to a workable size for just a few employees to manage.
Why Cellular Manufacturing?
Cellular Manufacturing is a process of manufacturing which is a subsection of just-in-time manufacturing and lean manufacturing encompassing group technology. The goal of cellular manufacturing is to move as quickly as possible, make a wide variety of similar products, while generating as little waste as possible. Cellular manufacturing involves the use of multiple "cells" in an assembly line fashion. Each of these cells is composed of one or multiple different machines which accomplish a certain task. The product moves from one cell to the next, each station completing part of the manufacturing process.
What does it look like?
The most frequently used machines in a cell include lathes, milling machines, drill presses, et cetera. Small to mid-sized machines are generally used, depending on the size and nature of the product in production. One of the biggest advantages of cellular manufacturing is the amount of flexibility that it provides. Since most of the machines are automatic, simple changes can be made very rapidly. This allows for a variety of scaling for a product, minor changes to the overall design, simple customization, and in extreme cases, entirely changing the overall design. These changes, although tedious, can be accomplished extremely quickly and precisely.
Your action plan!
For more complete information and explanations of Cellular Manufacturing, and many more resources, including History, Cell Design, Implementation Process, Difficulties in Creating Flow, Benefits and Costs, be sure to contact Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. We are here to help you grow and prosper. Plus, we understand the “lure” of Cellular!