What Is Plant Layout | Objectives and Principles

What is Plant Layout : 

Plant layout is the most effective physical arrangement, either existing or in plans of industrial facilities i.e. arrangement of machines, processing equipment and service departments to achieve greatest co-ordination and efficiency of 4 M’s (Men, Materials, Machines and Methods) in a plant.

Layout problems are fundamental to every type of organization/enterprise and are experienced in all kinds of concerns/undertakings. The adequacy of layout affects the efficiency of subsequent operations.

Definitions of Plant Layout :
According to James Lundy, “Layout identically involves the allocation of space and the arrangement of equipment in such a manner that overall operating costs are minimized”. In the words of Mallick and Gandreau, “Plant layout is a floor plan for determining and arranging the designed machinery and equipment of a plant, whether established or contemplated, in the best place, to permit the quickest flow of material, at the lowest cost and with the minimum handling in processing the product, from the receipt of raw material to the shipment of finished product”.

According to Apple, “Plant layout is planning the path each component/ part of the product is to follow through the plant, coordinating the various parts so that the manufacturing processes may be carried out in the most economical manner, then preparing drawing or other representation of the arrangement and finally seeing that the plan is properly put into effect.” (Plant Layout and Material by Apple).

Plant layout means the disposition of facilities like equipments, material, manpower etc. and the services of the plant within the area of the site selected for plant setup. It begins with the design of the factory building and extends up to the location and movement of a work table.
All the equipments and resources are given a proper place.

plant layout
plant layout

Need of Plant layout:

Many situations give rise to the problem of plant layout. Two plants having similar operations may not have identical layout. This may be due to size of the plant, nature of the process and management’s caliber. The necessity of plant layout may be feel and the problem may arise when.

(i) There are design changes in the product.

(ii) There is an expansion of the enterprise.

(iii) There is proposed variation in the size of the departments.

(iv) Some new product is to be added to the existing line.

(v) Some new department is to be added to enterprise and there is reallocation of the existing department.

(vi) A new plant is to be set up.

Objectives of a good plant layout:

1. Material handling and transportation is minimized and efficiently controlled
2. Bottlenecks and points of congestion are eliminated (to make the raw material and semi finished goods move fast between consecutive
work stations)
3. Suitable and adequate spaces are allocated to production centres and service centres
4. Minimizing the workers movement
5. Enhancing safety of the working conditions for all employees
6. Increased flexibility in design changes for future changes and expansion
7. Reduced plant maintenance cost

Principles of Plant layout:
a) Integration of production facilities in an efficient manner
b) Minimum movements and material handling
c) Smooth and continuous flow, by implementing proper line balancing techniques
d) Cubic space utilization by saving the floor space for storage and making use of ceiling
e) Safe and improved environments in shape of safe and efficient work places

f) Flexibility for accommodating changing product designs and production process

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