Factory efficiency highly depends on the layout – i.e. the arrangement of machines, storage spaces and office premises. For this reason, factory planners have to spend a lot of time on the selection of the optimum layout. There are two ways to evaluate factory layouts: either by expensive and complex simulations or by subjective expert decisions.
To allow for fast, low-priced as well as objective evaluation of factory layouts, the IPH has developed a software demonstrator. First, the user sketches the layout in a grid pattern based on so-called elementary cells, defining, for example, office, storage or assembly areas. At the push of a button, the programme calculates 22 characteristics classified in the four categories changeability, material flow, environmental condition and communication. The result is a final overall evaluation.
The benefit for the future: an objective comparison of various factory layout variants.