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Virtual Cells

A virtual manufacturing cell (VMC) is a group of resources that is


dedicated to the manufacturing of a part family, though this grouping is not
reflected in the physical structure of the manufacturing system.
Distinguishing such groups in the production control system offers the
possibility of achieving the advantages of cellular manufacturing in non-
cellular manufacturing systems. The advantages may include improved
flow performance, higher efficiency, simplified production control, and
better quality.

These virtual cells are in fact conceptual cells formed in the computer software and do not actually
exist on the shop floor. The formation of these cells will be subjected to change as and when
required depending on the business, technological and operational environment under which the
enterprise functions. Conceptually, GT offers three groups of benefits:
1. (1) The benefits offered by human related factors facilitated by empowerment in smaller cells.
2. (2) The benefits offered by improved flow and supervisory control in cells having to deal with a
smaller number of parts and facilities.
3. (3) The benefits offered by improved operational efficiency obtainable due to similarity,
essentially in terms of reduction in setup and batch size and improvement in performance
related to quality, productivity and agility.
The concept of virtual cell may not score very high as far as the first group of benefits is concerned.
However, it may offer considerable advantage in case of the latter groups of benefits.