Cellular Manufacturing (CM)
refers to a manufacturing system wherein the equipment and workstations
are arranged in an efficient sequence that allows a continuous and
smooth movement of inventories and materials to produce products from
start to finish in a single process flow, while incurring minimal
transport or waiting time, or any delay for that matter. CM is an
important ingredient of
In order to
set up a
(or single product flow) line, it is necessary to locate all the
different equipment needed to manufacture the product together in the
same production area. This is in contrast with the traditional
wherein only similar equipment are put in the same area. Under a
'batch and queue' set-up, products that need to undergo processing under
a certain equipment need to be transported to the area where the
equipment are located. There they are queued for processing in batches.
Such a system sometimes results in transport and batching delays.
In a single process flow set-up, the products simply transfer from one
equipment to the next along the same production line in a free-flowing
manner, avoiding transport and batching delays.
process flow set-up described above is an example of a 'work cell'.
is defined as a collection of equipment and workstations arranged in a
single area that allows a product or group of similar products to be
processed completely from start to finish. It is, in essence, a
self-contained mini-production line that caters to a group of products
that undergo the same production process.
Cellular manufacturing involves the use of work 'cells', which is how it
got its name.
differently-processed products need different work cells, a large
company with diversified products needs to build several, different work
cells if single process flows are desired. Given
volume of products to work with, work cells have been proven by
experience to be faster and more efficient in manufacturing than 'batch
and queue' systems.
the free flow of materials in cellular manufacturing, it has the ability
to produce products just in time.
This means that every unit processed at one station will get
processed in the next station. As such, no inventories that have already
undergone processing at one station will be left unprocessed in another
This prevents the build-up of non-moving inventories,
which are products that have already incurred some production costs but
can not generate revenues because they are stuck somewhere along the
process. Aside from preventing non-moving inventories, process issues
are immediately detected by just-in-time production, since defective
products are seen earlier than if products are manufactured in large
batches and queued.
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that cellular manufacturing can use to achieve 'just-in-time' production
wherein required inventories and materials are requested or 'pulled in'
by each station from the station preceding it. This 'pull' can
originate from the end customer itself, thereby ensuring that the
products manufactured are only those needed to satisfy a customer order.
This prevents wastes from products not being sold.
enough to simply arrange different equipment in sequence to make
cellular manufacturing really work.
single process flow must be eliminated, usually by balancing the
equipment capacities with each other. If bottlenecks exist, then
the higher-capacity equipment within the line will be underutilized.
Balancing equipment capacities may mean: 1) choosing 'right-sized'
equipment that match each other; and/or 2) combining two or more smaller
capacity equipment to match one larger-capacity equipment.
If properly implemented, the
manufacturing include: 1) higher production efficiency; 2) elimination
of waste; 3) reduced inventory levels; 4) optimized use of floor space;
5) shorter production cycle times; 6) higher effective manufacturing
capacity; and 7) improved customer response time. As a result, the
over-all production cost becomes lower and profits become greater.
Just-In-Time (JIT); TPM; TQM; Kaizen; 6-Sigma; 5S Process
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