Plant layout means the disposition of the various facilities (equipment, materials, manpower, etc.) within the area of the site selected. This article explains the Plant layout: with their concepts – meaning, definition, objectives, and principles. Plant layout begins with the design of the factory building and goes up to the location and movement of work. All the facilities like equipment, raw materials, machinery, tools, fixtures, workers, etc. are given a proper place.
Here is the article explains – Plant Layout: Meaning, Definition, Objectives, and Principles.
Plant layout is the plan for arranging the physical facilities and manpower requires to manufacture a product to utilize them effectively. It is a plan for effective utilization of facilities for the manufacture of products – involving a most efficient and economical arrangement of machines, materials, personnel, storage space, and all supporting services, within available floor space.
Meaning of Plant layout:
They also know as facilities design. Plant layout constitutes planning of the amount of space required for all kind of activities in an industry, i.e., equipment, machinery, furniture and fittings, offices, restrooms, warehouses, etc. It is a “Technique of locating different machines and plant services within the factory so that the greatest possible output of high quality at the lowest possible total cost can be available”. The primary objective of plant layout is to minimize the movement of men and materials in the plant.
Definition of Plant layout:
More definition of plant layout as follows:
“Plant layout is a plan of optimum arrangement of facilities including personnel, equipment’s, storage space, material handling equipment and all other supporting services along with the decision of best structure to contain all these facilities.”
In the words of James Lundy,
“It identically involves the allocation of space and the arrangement of equipment in such a manner that overall costs are minimized.”
According to Mo Naughton Waynel,
“A good layout results in comforts, convenience, appearance, safety, and profits. A poor layout results in congestion, waste, frustration, and inefficiency.”
It is very complex as it involves concepts relating to such fields as engineering, architecture, economics and business administration. Since a plant layout, when properly designed, encompasses all production’ and service facilities and provides for the most effective utilization of men, with materials and machines constituting the process, is a master blueprint for coordinating all operations.
The objective of a Good Plant Layout:
The principal objective of a proper plant layout is to maximize the production at the minimum of the costs. This objective should keep in mind while designing a layout for a new plant as well as while making the necessary changes in the existing layout in response to changes in management policies and processes and techniques of production. Besides, it must satisfy the needs of all people associated with the production system, i.e. workers, supervisors, and managers.
If a layout is to fulfill this goal, it should plan with the following clear objectives in mind:
- There is the proper utilization of cubic space (Le. length, width, and height). Maximum use of volume available should make. For example, conveyors can be run above head height and used as moving work in progress or tools and equipment can suspend from the ceiling. The principle is particularly true in stores where goods can store at considerable heights without inconvenience.
- Waiting time of the semi-finish products minimize.
- Working conditions are safer, better (well-ventilated rooms, etc.) and improve.
- Material handling and transportation minimize and efficiently control. For this, one has to consider the movement distances between different work areas – as well as the number of times such movements occur per unit period.
- The movements made by the workers are minimizing.
- Suitable spaces are allocating to production centres.
- Plant maintenance is simpler.
- There increases flexibility for changes in product design and future expansion. It must be capable of incorporating, without major changes, new equipment to meet technological requirements or to eliminate waste.
- A good layout permits materials to move through the plant at the desired speed with the lowest cost.
- There are increasing productivity and better product quality with reduced capital cost.
- Boosting up employee morale by providing employee comforts and satisfaction.
- The workers should so arrange that there is no difficulty in supervision, coordination, and control. There should be no “hiding-places” into which goods can mislay. Goods – raw materials and ready stocks – must be readily observable at all times. They will reduce the pilferage of material and labor.
It should note here that the above-stated objectives of plant layout are laudable in themselves. It is often difficult to reconcile all of them in a practical situation. And as such, the highest level of skill and judgment are requiring to exercise. For this, the close association between the entrepreneurs and experienced engineers is a must.
Principles of Plant layout:
While designing the plant layout – the following principles must keep in view:
- Movement: Materials and labor should move over minimum distances – saving cost and time of transportation and material handling.
- Space Utilization: All available cubic space should effectively utilize – both horizontally and vertically.
- Flexibility: Layout should be flexible enough to be adaptable to changes required by expansion or technological development.
- Interdependence: Interdependent operations and processes should locate near each other; to minimize product travel.
- Overall Integration: All the plant facilities and services should fully integrate into a single operating unit – to minimize the cost of production.
- Safety: There should be an in-built provision in the design of the layout – to provide for comfort and safety of workers.
- Smooth Flow: The layout should so design to reduce work bottlenecks and facilitate the uninterrupted flow of work throughout the plant.
- Economy: The layout should aim at effecting economy in terms of investment in fixed assets.
- Supervision: A good layout should facilitate effective supervision over workers.
- Satisfaction: A good layout should boost up employee morale – by providing them with maximum work satisfaction.