What Is Cellular Manufacturing?
Cellular manufacturing is in a way a reflection of lean manufacturing as far as the intentions go. The difference begins in the approach, though. Cellular manufacturing is said to be more modular – where it breaks the entire product manufacturing process into sub-processes. The actual design of the cellular manufacturing process depends upon the product in question. A good cellular design optimises floor space, reduces movement and time between the production processes, and smoothens communication amongst the employees across the various stages (of manufacturing).
How does a cellular manufacturing environment differ from the traditional manufacturing environment? Here’s how. In a traditional model, similar machines are placed next to each other. One will find lathes kept together, mills kept together, drills in one place, and so on. Whereas, in the case of cellular manufacturing environment, machines are placed together on the basis of the families of parts being produced. In this model, the material and components flow is a lot more faster and uncomplicated and so is the movement of workers and supervisors.
What’s so good about the cellular layout? Since, cellular layouts are a factory within a factory (if seen from the traditional prism), monitoring and supervision is effective. Underperforming cells can be identified quickly, rejections can be traced easily, and root cause analysed in an efficient manner. Likewise, quality parameters/standards can be implemented with limited iterations due to the compact and closed nature of a celular layout. A factory with cellular layout can produce high volumes of the same product and small volumes of a variety of products in the same shop floor. This helping the optimised use of the factory.