Cellular Manufacturing is a method of producing similar products using cells, or groups of team members, workstations, or equipment, to facilitate operations by eliminating setup and unneeded costs between operations. Cells might be designed for a specific process, part, or a complete product.
They are favorable for single-piece and one-touch production methods and in the office or the factory. Because of increased speed and the minimal handling of materials, cells can result in great cost and time savings and reduced inventory. Cellular design sometimes makes use of group technology, which studies a large number of components and separates them into groups with similar characteristics.
They also uses families-of-parts processing, which groups components by shape and size to be manufactured by the same people, tools, and machines with little change to process or setup. Irrespective of the design of cell (straight line, u-shape, or other), the equipment in the cell are placed very near one another to save space and time. In cellular design, the handling of materials can be by hand, conveyor, or robot. A cell supervisory computer must be used to control movement between equipment pieces and the conveyor when robots or conveyors are used.
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A cell refers to a combination of people, equipment, and workstations organized in the order of process flow, to manufacture all or part of a production unit. The features of a cell include the following:
The following are some core objectives of cellular manufacturing:
After mapping out your value streams, you are ready to setup continuous flow manufacturing cells. Most cells that have been set up in the past ten years do not have continuous flow; most changes to cells have been a layout change only. That is, machines were moved in a cellular arrangement and nothing more was changed. It should be noted that change in layout alone does not create continuous flow. The following are some seven (7) steps for creating a continuous flow manufacturing cells:
For product focused cells to work correctly, demand needs to be high enough for an individual product. For mixed model or group technology cells to work, changeover times must be kept short.
Takt time, sometimes mistaken for cycle time, isn't dependent on your productivity- it is a measure of customer demand expressed in units of time.
In much detail, document all of the actual work that goes into making one unit. Time each element separately several times and use the lowest repeatable time. Do not include wasteful elements such as walking and waiting time.
Using a spreadsheet, determine if each piece of equipment that will be required for the cell you are setting up is capable of meeting takt time.
More than likely, you will have more than one person working in your cell (this depends on takt time); however, you should arrange the cell such that one person can do it, thereby ensuring that the least possible space is consumed. Less space translates to less walking, movement of parts, and waste. U-shaped cells are generally best; however, if this is impossible due to factory floor limitations, other shapes will do.
This involves determining how many operators are needed to meet takt time.
There are several approaches. Some include:
After you’ve determined the above 7 elements, you will have gathered much of the necessary data required to begin drawing and laying out your continuous flow manufacturing cell.
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Olanrewaju, Adebayo Bamidele is a Lead Auditor of ISO 9001, FSSC 22000 / ISO 22000, 14001 & 45001 Management Systems, Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt (CSSMBB), process engineer, and quality management professional with strong working experience and proven skills in manufacturing excellence, ISO management systems implementation, lean / digital manufacturing, and project management.
Adebayo is a Corporate Member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Associate Member, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Corporate Member, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Corporate Member, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), Associate Member, Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM), and Associate Member, Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria (ISMN).
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