Integration of part classification, cell formation and capacity adjustment
International O C S C O World Press
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Engineering
Purpose: Improving the productivity of a large manufacturing firm through development and implementation of a group technology model in a real manufacturing environment. This incorporates classification of parts, coding of parts and par families, formation of machine cells, and minimization of machine idle times through machine cell capacity adjustment. Design/methodology/approach: An algorithm has been developed for classification of all the parts into part families on the basis of manufacturing similarities. This formed 144 par families for more than 7500 different parts in production. The algorithm assigned group technology code to each part and a part family code to each part family. The former represents manufacturing characteristics of the part and the latter simplifies determination of part families. A number of machine cells were developed to produce all of the part families. After classification the system automatically directs each part to the appropriate machine cell for manufacturing. A computer software has been developed that automated the functions of classification of parts and assigning a group technology code to each part, determination of part families and assigning part family codes, and directing part families to appropriate machine cells for production. Findings: Introducing part family codes in addition to group technology codes considerably simplified the task of part family determination. Application of the system immediately resulted in an increased productivity of about 50%. This was due to the reduced setup times, less flow of parts in the workshop, production of similar parts due to parts classification, etc. Yet a productivity improvement of 100% or more is anticipated in near future. Research limitations/implications: As the manufacturing firm was producing a wide range of products at the time of implementation of this work, it was difficult to implement the project without affecting the production flow significantly. There has also been some resistance from technical people opposing a change in traditional production methods. Originality/value: Integration of machine cell formation with capacity adjustment is of great value that resulted in significant productivity improvements. Also some issues regarding actual implementation of group technology and associated problems and issues, coding of parts and part families, formation of machine cells, and capacity adjustment of machine cells have been dealt with and discussed in this paper.