Workload balance of cells in

designing of multiple cellular
manufacturing systems
Ibrahim Al Kattan
American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Abstract
Purpose – This paper presents a new method of resource optimization through workload balance in
designing of multiple cellular manufacturing (MCM) systems for flow-shop environments. The
application of a step-by-step structured approach to design MCM cells more efficiently and generate
smooth flow shop type with better resource utilization.
Design/methodology/approach – An industrial application case with 31 products carried on 12
workstations is presented to explore the step-by-step of designing and analyzing the results of
alternative cellular manufacturing and balancing the workload.
Findings – MCM designs have become an important approach for batch production in the last
decade, and their layout provides a dominant flow structure for the production scheduling. The flow
shop nature of MCM adds a simplifying structure to the complexity of planning and scheduling. This
method will generate many alternative designs and configurations of MCM in the form of highly
flexible manufacturing systems. These alternatives could be better a choice for resource optimization
in the industrial application.
Originality/value – Together with the associated costs, each proposed solution for the MCM could
help to design and build efficient and highly flexible systems. Special emphasis will be devoted to the
workload balance of workstations, machines, material-handling equipment and WIP with the
utilization of the resources in the production system. This method is practical, experiential and
participates. A program using C language will be written to test the proposed algorithm for randomly
generated input data.
Keywords Resource management, Cellular manufacturing, Operations and production management
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
Today’s manufacturer is looking for ways to maximize the production flow of material,
improve utilization of the resources such as machine and material handling labor, and
reduce the work-in-process. This process of modifying or changing the products and
consequently the layout of machines and workstations became top priority to the
manufacturers in today’s market economy. The mediumand small size industries more
often come across the problem of producing a variety of products in small quantities.
As the variety increases as compared to the quantity to be produced, the management
has to take the decision of moving more toward flexible manufacturing rather than
fully automated manufacturing systems. The main problem of building and balancing
multiple cellular manufacturing (MCM) cells is assigning a group of parts into
manufacturing cell a set of machines. These machines could be a group of both new
and existing machinery and material handling equipment using group technology
techniques. According to Buzzacott and Shanthikumar (1992), a multiple cellular
manufacturing system consists of different manufacturing cells where each cell can
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Received August 2002
Revised July 2003
Accepted October 2003
Journal of Manufacturing Technology
Management
Vol. 16 No. 2, 2005
pp. 178-196
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
1741-038X
DOI 10.1108/17410380510576822
make a variety of different products from a variety of different parts or raw materials.
The MCM cells typically transform raw material into finished products for selected
families of parts. Flexibility is required to produce a variety of products in small
batches (Besant and Ristic, 1997). The fact that a job spends on an average only 5
percent of its total flow time being processed on machines, and during the remaining
time, either it is in a queue as WIP or being transported from one work-center to
another has been elaborated by Crama (2003). Traditionally, the manufacturing of
batch/discrete lots of component parts has taken place in a process layout where
similar machines are grouped together in one area of the production plant. Thus,
during the production process, batches move through various work centers according
to specified machining sequences. To survive in a highly competitive environment,
which demands short lead-time deliveries and low cost products, there is a need for
better coordination and scheduling of production and logistic activities on the shop
floor (Anwar and Nagi, 1997). Cellular manufacturing is the proven strategy for
manufacturing for higher efficiency, consequently generating more profits for
manufacturers. Several leading manufacturers have adopted it. For example, “Toyota
Production” is the subject of the day being taught in schools as a leading cellular
manufacturing (CM) strategy. Cellular manufacturing yields major improvements in
productivity, quality and response. Some benefits of the cellular manufacturing are like
80-90 percent less inventory, 70-90 percent less material handling, 20-100 percent
improved productivity, simpler scheduling, faster customer response, improved
quality in smooth flow production system and customization, (Kattan, 1997). Although
researchers view an MCM as a combination of production cells and production stores
connected through material flow, the case of product stores will not be discussed at all
in this paper unless otherwise necessary to explain or to strengthen the point of
discussion.
A great deal of research has been focused on solving the job-shop problem over the
last 40 years, resulting in a variety of approaches. Recently, much effort has been
concentrated on hybrid methods to solve this problem, as a single technique cannot
solve this problem in a finite time for a large number of combinations, (Julia et al.,
1995). The research in scheduling theory has evolved over the past 40 years and has
been the subject of much significant literature with techniques ranging from unrefined
dispatching rules to highly sophisticated parallel branch and bound algorithms and
bottleneck based heuristics. One of the most popular models in scheduling theory is
that of job-shop as it is considered to be a good representation of the general domain
and has earned a reputation for being notoriously difficult to solve. It is probably the
most well developed model in deterministic scheduling theory, serving as a
comparative test-bed for different solution techniques, old and new, and as it is also
strongly motivated by practical requirements it is clearly worth understanding.
Formally, the deterministic job-shop-scheduling problem consists of a finite set of jobs
n to be processed on m machines. The job is processed on several machines and
consists of complex operations, which have to be scheduled in a predetermined given
order, a requirement called a precedence constraint. Each job has its own individual
flow pattern through the machines, which is independent of the other jobs.
Furthermore, the problem is attended by capacity constraints or disjunctive
constraints, which stipulate that each machine can process only one operation and
each operation can be processed by only one machine at a time. The duration in which
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all operations for all jobs are completed is referred to as the make span. One of the
objectives of the scheduler is to determine starting times for each operation in order to
minimize the make span while satisfying all the precedence and capacity requirements.
A new classification scheme for FMSs has been presented by MacCarthy et al.
(1993). They identified four types of FMSs: single flexible machine (SFM), flexible
manufacturing cell (FMC), multi-machine flexible manufacturing system (MMFMS),
and multi-cellular manufacturing system (MCMS). An SFM is a computer controlled
production unit which consists of a single NC or CNC machine tool served by a robot as
a material handling device with a part storage buffer, (Black, 1983, 1988, cited in
Kattan, 1997). An FMC is a type of FMS, which consists of a group of SFMs with three
or fewer machines sharing one common material-handling device (MacCarthy et al.,
1993). Whereas an MCFMS is a type of an automated material handling system links
FMS, which consists of a number of FMCs, and their operations. The operation of the
entire system is integrated and controlled by a computer network. Forming a MCMS
center, a production system can be developed that has the advantage of the production
rate of an assembly line (product line), yet the flexibility of a job shop. Parts can be
grouped into a family based on the design and/or manufacturing similarities between
them. The design attributes are external/internal shapes, material dimensions, and
geometrical dimensioning tolerances. The manufacturing attributes are machining
operations, machine tools, operation sequence, and batch size and production time
(Kattan, 1997).
Recently, numerous algorithms based on the evolutionary computation methods
have been developed. Dimopoulos and Zalzala (1998) give an excellent review of
evolutionary computation methods, and highlight some recent development in the
field. Awadh et al. (1995) presented one of the first evolutionary algorithms for the
solution of the optimal plan selection problem. Each stage of a process plan was
represented by a binary-coded matrix, where the occurrence of a bit with positive value
denoted the presence of a connection between the corresponding nodes of the matrix
(Dimopoulos and Zalzala, 2000). Zhou and Gen (1997) noted that fast and efficient
algorithms, like the shortest path method and dynamic programming, are capable of
producing good solution for single objective process planning problems. They argued
that evolutionary computation methods are ideal for the multi-objective version of the
problem, which cannot be easily expressed as a shortest path or dynamic
programming problem. For the reader not familiar with these concepts additional
information can be found in Zhou and Gen (1997) and Dimopoulos and Zalzala (2000).
Background and literature review
In the last decade, there has been considerable interest in the research of scheduling
and production control for FMSs. Many researchers and practicing industrial and
system engineers have tried to improve the performance of the system and the resource
utilization of FMSs. As the industrialized world develops, more and more resources are
becoming critical. Resources such as machines, manpower, and facilities are now
commonly thought of as crucial in production and service activities. Scheduling these
resources leads to increased efficiency, utilization, and, ultimately, profitability.
Manufacturing cells have become an important approach to batch manufacturing in
the last two decades, and their layout structure provides a dominant flow structure for
the part routings. The flow shop nature of manufacturing cells adds a simplifying
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structure to the problem of planning worker assignments and order releases, which
makes it more amenable to the use of optimization techniques. In 1993 Skorin-Kapov
and Vakharia proposed a Tabu search scheme for effective scheduling of flow-lines for
manufacturing cells. The Tabu search heuristic of Skorin-Kapov and Vakharia
efficiently schedules a pure flow-line manufacturing cell under varying parameter
conditions (http://www.tabusearch.net/Tabu_Search/Planning_Scheduling/Flowline.
asp).
Hefetz and Adiri (1982, cited in Dimopoulos and Zalzala, 1998) have developed an
efficient approach for the n jobs on two machines problem where all operations are of
unit processing time, while Williamson et al. (1997, cited in Dimopoulos and Zalzala,
1998) prove that determining the existence of a schedule with a make span of three can
be done in polynomial time as long as the total processing time required by all the
operations on each machine is no more than three. Any success that has been achieved
using mathematical formulations can be attributed to Lagrangian relaxation
approaches and decomposition methods. Researchers have also used branch and
bound methods to solve this problem. Since this technique is a part of this study, it will
be discussed later in detail. Glover and Greenberg (1989, cited in Dimopoulos and
Zalzala, 1998) indicate the importance of approximation methods that suggest that
directed tree searching is wholly unsatisfactory for combinatorial difficult problems.
They indicate that heuristics inspired by natural phenomena and intelligent problem
solving are most suitable, providing an appropriate bilateral linkage between
operations research and artificial intelligence. Approximation procedures applied to
job-shop were first developed on the basis of priority dispatching rules and due to their
ease of implementation and their substantially reduced computational requirement
they are a very popular technique (Baker, 1974; French, 1982, cited in Al-Qattani, 1990;
Morton and Pentico, 1993, cited in Kattan, 1997). The earliest work on priority
dispatching rules was first done by Jackson (1955, 1957), Smith (1956), Rowe and
Jackson (1956), Giffler and Thompson (1960) and Gere (1966, all cited in Dimopoulos
and Zalzala, 1998). The most well-known and comprehensive survey of scheduling
heuristics is by Panwalker and Iskander (1977, cited in Kattan, 1997) where 113
priority-dispatching rules are presented, reviewed and classified. Although for many
years the only viable approximation methods were priority dispatching rules, recently
the advent of more powerful computers as well as the emphasis on carefully designed,
analyzed and implemented techniques has allowed more sophisticated approaches to
be developed which can bridge the gap between priority dispatching rules and time
consuming combinatorial exploding exact methods. One example of such an approach
is the shifting bottleneck procedure (SBP) of Adams et al. (1988, cited in Kattan, 1997).
According to Davis and Mabert (2000), manufacturing cells have become an
important approach to batch manufacturing in the last two decades, and their layout
structure provides a dominant flow structure for the part routings. The flow shop
nature of manufacturing cells adds a simplifying structure to the problem of planning
worker assignments and order releases, which makes it more amenable to the use of
optimization techniques, (Croce et al., 1995). More recently, Weiss (2002) observed that
a multiclass fluid network could approximate finite horizon system. According to
Weiss both a deterministic combinatorial optimization problem formulation and a
multiclass queuing network method are of little practical help in trying to optimize
these systems. Both of these methods, according to Weiss, suffer from conceptual
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shortcomings. The fluid control problem is a separated continuous linear problem
(SCLP) and it can be solved numerically. That is why it is more tractable than
combinatorial optimization of Markov decision problems. Olafsson and Shi (1997) have
addressed the parallel-machine flexible-resource scheduling (PMFRS) problem of
simultaneously allocating flexible resources, and sequencing jobs, in cellular
manufacturing systems where the cells are configured in parallel. They presented a
solution methodology for the PMFRS problem called the nested partitions (NP) method.
This method combines global sampling of the feasible region and local search
heuristics. They developed a new sampling algorithm that can be used to obtain good
feasible schedules, and suggested a new improvement heuristic (Olafsson and Shi,
1997). Zhao and Fan (1999) observed that there is no single algorithm that could solve
all kind of scheduling problems. They have tried to combine possible solutions into a
mechanism called integration of scheduling algorithms that uses multi-agent system
technique to call the required algorithm whenever it is needed (Zhao and Fan, 1999).
Moreover, research has also been done in the deadlock-free flexible manufacturing
systems, where new ways and methods are proposed to avoid deadlocks in case of
sudden breakdown of the machine or any other part of the whole system. Yoon and Lee
have recently done some work in this direction. They used a database constructor and
a dynamic scheduler in real-time (Yoon and Lee, 2000). Scheduling consists of planning
and prioritizing activities that needs to be performed in an orderly sequence of
operation. A tool optimizes use of available resources. Scheduling leads to increased
efficiency and capacity utilization, reducing time required to complete jobs and
consequently increasing the profitability of an organization. Efficient scheduling of
resources such as machines, labor, and material is necessary in today’s extremely
competitive environment. Hence, scheduling methods are tools that allow production
and other systems to run efficiently. The scheduling efficiency can be measured by
various indexes. Two of the most popular are minimization of time required to
complete all jobs and minimization of penalty for completing jobs early or after the due
dates.
Proposed method
The proposed method considered optimization of cells by balancing machine workload
using the processing time, set-up time, and the capacity of the MCM cells among
manufacturing cells. This method is a modification of branch and bound method used
in designing flexible manufacturing cells developed by Al-Qattan (1990). The original
method is based on branching from a seed machine and bounding on a completed part.
Seed machines represent the starting node for the network system as initiative for
MCM. Selecting a seed machine with the smallest total processing time of jobs will help
to reduce the size of the network tree and obtain more alternative solutions, which may
help to generate a hybrid MCM. The machines or the workstations, which are
candidates for duplication, can be determined either due to the lack of capacity to
process all of the job and/or the machine that represents a congestion point or
bottleneck machine in the production flow. Adding new machines may solve this
problem. Therefore, the machines which have more than the average number of hours
per workstation could be considered as candidates for duplication. Most machine-part
grouping methods use an array-based matrix of M by N, with zero or one entities,
where there are M machines and N parts. A “one” entry in row j and column i of the
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matrix indicates that part i has an operation on machine j; a zero entry indicates it does
not. This is the assumption commonly used in the previous research in all
machine-part grouping problems, neglecting the effect of set-up time, processing time
and the volume of the part to be produced on each machine.
Problem definition
A solution for the cell formation problem is presented here when n parts are to be
processed on m machines in a flow shop environment. This research is considering the
flow-shop production system with technological constraints of the sequence of
manufacturing operations. The processing time p
ij
of part i on workstation j is given.
Since the environment is that of a flow shop, each part can go in the same order as in a
flow shop. This kind of production system is usually more efficient with material
handling and movement and keeping a very smooth flow of production. Decomposing
the entire group of all parts into k MCM cells could minimize the scheduling problem.
This research includes the processing time ( p
i,j
) and the production quantity or the
demand (D
i
) of each product. To simplify the solution procedure, the criteria introduced
in the proposed method is an array-based matrix of m by n, with zero or “TP
i,j
” value,
where there are mworkstations and n number of products. The value of “TP
i,j
” entry in
row i and column j of the matrix indicates that part i has an operation on machine j; a
zero entry indicates it does not.
Notation
P
i
¼ the ith part where i ¼ 1, 2, . . ., n, where n is the total number of the parts.
M
j
¼ the jth machine where j ¼ 1, 2, . . ., m, where m is the total number of the
machines.
P
i,j
¼ the processing time (minutes) of the ith part on the jth workstation or
machine.
D
I
¼ weekly demand of part i.
TP
ij
¼ the number of hours that the jth workstation or machine required to
produce the quantity D
i
of the ith part.
S
i,j
¼ set-up time of machine j for part i.
TP ¼ (D
i*
p
i, j
/60)þS
i, j
.
TAP
j
¼ the total time of all parts that have an operation on workstation j.
T ¼ the total amount of load:
TAP
j
¼
X
N
i¼1
TP
i,j
for all j ¼ 1, 2 . . . m
T
¯
¼
X
M
i¼1
TAP
j
/ m
T
¯
¼ the average workload per workstation.
K ¼ the number of a family of parts or manufacturing cells MC.
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C(k) ¼ the kth MC cells.
P(k) ¼ the family of parts in kth MC cells.
AL(k) ¼ the alternative parts in kth MC cells.
{AM} ¼ the set of all workstations or machines.
{AP} ¼ the set of all parts.
{B} ¼ the set of all bottleneck workstations or machines which are candidates
for duplication.
b
j
¼ TAP
j
/T
¯
. 1 is the criterion for adding a new machine. The higher the
value of b
j
, the higher is the possibility of adding more than one machine
of type j.
MWL ¼ the maximum amount of workload could be assigned to any cell to
achieve the best workload balance among all MC. This is an initial
assumption:
MWL ¼
X
M
i¼1
TAP
j
/K
UWL(k) ¼ the actual amount of used workload in the kth MC cell:
UWL(k) ¼
P
TP
ij
all parts in MC C(k)
RWL(k) ¼ the remaining capacity of workload could be used in the kth cell:
RWL(k) ¼ MWL – UWL(k)
AWL(K) ¼ the amount of workload in the alternative set in the kth MC cells:
AWL(k) ¼
P
TP
ij
for all alternative parts could be used into AC(K)
AC(k) ¼ the alternative parts that are added into the MC cell.
CL(K) ¼ the kth MC cell’s workload at any time.
Selecting the value of K, the number of cells
This study uses two assumptions to define the range of value for K. The first criterion
for choosing the minimum value for K is the ratio of maximum workload of any
workstation needed to finish all parts to the available workload machine.
(1) The criterion for selecting the smallest number of MC, value of K:
K ¼
max {TAP
j
}
MWL
(2) The criterion for selecting the largest number of MC, value of K. The maximum
value of K is obtained by dividing the total processing time by the maximum
value of TAP
j
:
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K ¼
X
m
i¼1
X
n
j¼1
TP
ij
MaxðTAP
j
Þ
Proposed method
Step 0
Obtain the workstation with workload considered to be bottleneck.
bj ¼ TAP
J
=

T
Find all workstations that b
j
$ 1, insert them into a set {B},
Stage “I”: Initialization. Insert all workstations into a set {AM}, and insert all parts
into a set {AP}
Set C(K) ¼ {0}, Set P(K) ¼ {0}, and Set AL(K) ¼ {0} for k ¼ 1, 2, . . ., K
Step 1
Set K ¼ 1, to initialize the formation of first MC center.
Step 2
Select the smallest value of TAP
j
as an initial network node for the kth group, call it the
seed workstation or machine (M). Insert Ms into C(K) set.
Step 3
Branch all parts that visit seed machine Ms. Insert all parts into P(K) set.
Step 4
Bound every part which does not require another machine. Otherwise, branch to a new
machine required to be visited. Insert the new machines into C(K) set.
Step 5
Calculate the workload of the kth MC cell, CL(K).
If the CL(K) , MWL, continue step 6.
If the CL(K) . MWL, then delete parts in P(K) until CL(K) become less than MWL.
Go to step 8.
Step 6
Bound every machine that belongs to set {B} machine. Branch all parts that visit all
the remaining machines in set C(K).
Step 7
Calculate the used workload of the kth MC, UWL(K).
If the UWL(K) , MWL, repeat step 6.
If the UWL(K) . MWL, then do not insert parts in the previous step and go to step 8.
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Step 8
Calculate the remaining workload, RWL(K) of the kth MC.
Step 9
Insert all parts that can be completed by the machines that are already assigned to the
C(K) into set AL(K) as an alternative list.
Step 10
Calculate the alternative parts, which could be finished in the kth MC, AWL(K)
If UWL(K) þ AWL(K) , TAP, then insert all parts from A(K) into C(K)
If UWL(K) þ AWL(K) . TAP, then do nothing.
Step 11
Form MC cells from all machines in a closed network C(K). Use a closed network to
form a family of parts P(K) and alternative parts AL(K).
The suggestion is to keep the track of the workload at every single step for the
remaining jobs and workstations only. Thus, create a new two dimensional table for
the remaining jobs in{AP} and workstations {AM}.
Step 12
Delete all parts in P(K) from set {AP}.
Step 13
Calculate new TAP
j
.
Step 14
Delete all machines with TAP
j
¼ 0 from set {AM}.
Step 15
Create a new two-dimensional table for the remaining jobs in{AP} and workstations
{AM}.
Step 16
Increment K by one
Stage “II” next. Second MCM formation, go to step 1 and continue to step 16.
Stage “III” next. Third MCM formation, go to step 1 and continue to step 16.
Step 17
STOP Criteria when all parts produced either direct assignment into cell at the first
formation of the cell or assigned as alternative to balance the workload among MC.
Industrial application
To demonstrate the merit of the proposed method, a practical problem from an
industrial partner is used. The unit consists of 43 different components, out of which,
31 components are being manufactured using 12 different workstation centers. Each
part is considered as a job order, which includes many operations where each operation
takes a certain operation time. The processing time for each operation in the
corresponding workstation is given in Table I. The present plant has highly congested
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movement and WIP. Using this method will transform the single plant into multiple
cellular manufacturing centers. The proposed method ensures better scheduling and
the close to optimum job sequence. The objective of this work is to design
manufacturing cell with workload balance among all MCM cells.
Assumption to choose the value of K, the number of cells
(1) The criterion for selecting the minimum value of K:
K ¼
max{TAP
j
}
MWL
The maximum value of TAP
j
is then divided by MWL, the number of hours per
week a machine has to run. As shown in the table, the maximum number of
hours is 103 and the number of working hours is 35/week. Therefore:
Max {TAP
j
} /MWL¼103/35 ¼ 2.94.
Rounding off this value to the next higher integer value gives value of K ¼ 3.
Part ws1 ws2 ws3 ws4 ws5 ws6 ws7 ws8 ws9 ws10 ws11 ws12 TP
j
1 3 0 3 2 0 11 0 0 0 7 0 0 26
2 5 0 3 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 15
3 8 4 4 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 28
4 0 3 0 6 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 0 16
5 0 3 0 0 0 6 5 0 7 0 0 7 28
6 4 3 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 6 3 0 21
7 6 0 6 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 26
8 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 5 13
9 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 3 4 0 0 0 13
10 7 4 0 8 0 0 5 0 4 0 0 6 34
11 0 0 7 0 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 20
12 0 3 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 9 3 9 31
13 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
14 4 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 13
15 5 2 4 0 0 9 0 7 0 0 0 0 27
16 6 0 0 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
17 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 11
18 2 2 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 15
19 7 0 1 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 16
20 8 2 1 0 0 4 0 0 8 0 0 0 23
21 0 7 0 12 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 31
22 14 0 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 26
23 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 0 12
24 0 0 0 0 11 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 17
25 3 3 9 0 0 0 7 0 0 8 0 0 30
26 0 0 5 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12
27 0 3 0 0 8 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 18
28 3 0 0 9 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 21
29 2 3 5 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17
30 3 0 0 3 0 4 0 0 4 0 0 7 21
31 7 5 0 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 20
TP
j
103 64 60 75 81 49 24 25 40 30 11 60 622
Table I.
Processing time of 31
parts on 12 workstations
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(2) The criterion for selecting the maximum value of K:
The maximum value of K is obtained by dividing the total processing time
by the maximum value of T
j
:
K ¼
X
m
i¼1
X
n
j¼1
TP
i;j
MaxðTAP
j
Þ
In this particular example, the maximum value of K is:
K¼622/103 ¼ 6
The value of K can vary between minimum and maximum value 3 and 6.
Transformation to three MCM cells
Let:
K ¼ the number of cell will be used, K ¼ 3
T ¼ target value of the load suggested using K ¼ 3
L ¼ amount of the load to produce part
CL ¼ amount of the load assigned to the cell T ¼ 622/3 ¼ 207
Formation of first MCM cell
Step 1
Set B contains all WS for which b
j
. 1
B ¼ {WS1, WS2, WS3, WS4, WS5, WS12}.
Step 2
Select the seed machine (smallest value of load): WS11.
Step 3
Branch all part, which visits WS_1:P6, P12, P14, P18.
Step 4
Calculate CL1 ¼ L6 þ L12 þ L14 þ L18 ¼ 80; T–CL1 ¼ 207 – 80 ¼ 127 (Now we
can see that Cell#1 is able to handle ,127 more).
Step 5
Branch all new WS, which visit by all part in Step 2: WS1, WS2, WS4, WS5, WS7,
WS10, and WS12.
Step 6
Bound every machine which belongs to machine set {B}.
Step 7
Branch all new parts which visit all the remaining machines (not in set ): P1, P5, P10,
and P25.
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Step 8
Again, calculate CL ¼ 80 þ L1 þ L5 þ L10 þ L25 ¼ 198
T – CL1 ¼ 207 – 198 ¼ 9
CL1 ¼ 80 CL1 ¼ 80 þ 118 ¼ 198
The network for formulation of first MCM cell is shown in Figure 1.
Step 9
Since we still have some room left, now we can insert parts that can be completed by
the machine which is already assigned within Cell 1. We can save the list of parts
which can be complete within Cell 1 for later consideration and then move on to the
next cell. Cell_1(Part_alt): {2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31}.
Step 10
Remove all WS except the last stage which does not belong to set {b} ¼ (WS7, WS10,
WS11), and remove all parts that belong to Cell_1(P1, P5, P6, P10, P12, P14, P18, P25).
Then create a new table, Table II.
Formation of MCM Cell#2
Step 1
Select the seed machine (smallest value of the load): WS8.
Step 2
Branch all part, which visits WS_1: P8, P9, P15, P23, and P27.
Step 3
Calculate CL2 ¼ L8 þ L9 þ L15 þ L23 þ L27 ¼ 83
T – CL2 ¼ 207 – 83 ¼ 124 (Now we can see that Cell#2 is able to handle ,124
more).
Step 4
Branch all new WS, which visit by all parts in Step 2: WS1, WS2, WS3, WS5, WS6,
WS9, and WS12.
Figure 1.
Network for formulation
of first MCM cell
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189
Step 5
Bound every machine which belongs to machine set.
Step 6
Branch all new parts which visit all the remaining machines (not in set {B}): P4, P11,
P20, P24, P28 and P30.
Step 7
Again, calculate CL2 ¼ 83 þ L4 þ L11 þ L20 þ L24 þ L28 þ L30 ¼ 201
T – CL2 ¼ 207 – 201 ¼ 6 (Now we can see that Cell#2 is able to handle ,6 more).
Step 8
Subtract all parts assigned in Cell#2 to the Cell#1 alternative list (Step 9 in Cell#1).
Therefore, for Cell_1 alternative list becomes: {P2, P3, P7, P13, P16, P17, P19, P21, P22,
P26, P29, P31}.
Step 9
Repeat Step 8 in cell#1 for Cell#2 alternative list: {P2, P3, P7, P13, P16, P17, P19, P21,
P22, P26, P29, P31}.
Part ws1 ws2 ws3 ws4 ws5 ws6 ws8 ws9 ws12 Load
2 5 0 3 0 4 0 0 0 3 15
3 8 4 4 5 3 0 0 0 4 28
4 0 3 0 6 0 0 0 7 0 16
7 6 0 6 0 6 0 0 0 8 26
8 0 5 0 0 0 0 3 0 5 13
9 0 6 0 0 0 0 3 4 0 13
11 0 0 7 0 7 6 0 0 0 20
13 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
15 5 2 4 0 0 9 7 0 0 27
16 6 0 0 12 0 0 0 0 0 18
17 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 11
19 7 0 1 6 0 0 0 0 2 16
20 8 2 1 0 0 4 0 8 0 23
21 0 7 0 12 12 0 0 0 0 31
22 14 0 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 26
23 3 4 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 12
24 0 0 0 0 11 0 0 6 0 17
26 0 0 5 7 0 0 0 0 0 12
27 0 3 0 0 8 0 7 0 0 18
28 3 0 0 9 0 9 0 0 0 21
29 2 3 5 0 7 0 0 0 0 17
30 3 0 0 3 0 4 0 4 7 21
31 7 5 0 0 8 0 0 0 0 20
TP
j
80 46 48 60 66 32 25 29 38 424
Table II.
Processing time of the
remaining parts and
workstations
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Step 10
Remove all WS except the last stage, which does not belong to set {b} ¼ (WS6, WS8,
WS9), and remove all parts that belong to Cell_2(P4, P8, P9, P11, P15, P20, P23, P24,
P27, P28, P30). Then create a new table, Table III. CL2 ¼ 83CL2 ¼ 83 þ 118 ¼ 201.
The network for formulation of second MCM cell is shown in Figure 2. Now all
machines in Table III will be assigned for Cell#3, but we also have alternative choice to
assign parts from Cell#3 to Cell#1 and Cell#2 according to the list we have. Since
Cell#1 still has room for nine workload units, and Cell#2 has room for six workload
units, Part#17 could be assigned for Cell#1, and Part#13 for Cell#2. The summary of
workload for 31 parts on 12 workstations is shown in Table IV.
Figure 2.
Network for formulation
of second MCM cell
Part ws1 ws2 ws3 ws4 ws5 ws12 Load
2 5 0 3 0 4 3 15
3 8 4 4 5 3 4 28
7 6 0 6 0 6 8 26
13 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
16 6 0 0 12 0 0 18
17 0 2 0 0 0 9 11
19 7 0 1 6 0 2 16
21 0 7 0 12 12 0 31
22 14 0 12 0 0 0 26
26 0 0 5 7 0 0 12
29 2 3 5 0 7 0 17
31 7 5 0 0 8 0 20
Total 58 21 36 42 40 26 223
Table III.
Processing time of the
remaining parts and
workstations
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systems
191
Transformation to six MCM cells
The result of using same procedure to develop the transformation to six MCM cells is
presented inTable V.
Improving and balancing the workload
The next step is to improve and balance the workload among all MCMcells. Let us assume
that the goal is to achieve the standard amount of load/week for every workstation at 35
hour/week with deviation of 10 percent. Let us considered Cell 1 and Cell 2.
Workstations 1, 2, 4, 7, 10 are workstations that might be able to share among cells 1
and 2 (see Tables VI and VII).
Consider Cell#5 (145 percent) and Cell#6 (62 percent) (Table VIII). The modification
in these two cells can be done in order to bring the percent of workload of these two
cells into tolerance limit (90 percent ,110 percent) (Figure 3).
Modification can be done by adding WS1, WS3, WS6, WS12 to Cell#6, then
removing WS9 and Part 20 and Part 30 from Cell#5 to Cell#6. With this modification,
the result is now:
Cell#5: WS5{1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12}
P5: {2, 3, 11, 28, 29}
CL5 = 101(98.1 percent of workload)
Cell#6: WS6 {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12}
P6: {4, 20, 21, 24, 30}
CL6 = 108 (104.9 percent of workload)
Comments on the alternative solution
With this alternative solution, the workloads among the six cells become more balanced,
but the additional cost for adding more machines to Cell#5 is also require (Figure 4). The
company will make a choice between make or buy on expensive part (Table IX).
Cell Workstation Part Workload (%)
1 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 1, 5, 6, 10, 12, 14, 17, 18, 25 101
2 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12 4, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 20, 23, 24, 27, 28, 30 98
3 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12 2, 3, 7, 16, 19, 21, 22, 26, 29, 31 101
Table IV.
Summary of workload for
31 parts on 12
workstations
Cell Workstation Part Workload (%)
1 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12 6, 12, 13, 14, 18, 31 100
2 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10 1, 19, 22, 25, 26 107
3 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 12 5, 10, 16, 17 88
4 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12 7, 8, 9, 15, 23, 27 106
5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12 2, 3, 11, 28, 29 98
6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12 4, 20, 21, 24, 30 105
Table V.
Sharing workstation by
more than one cell
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Summary and conclusions
This paper presents a new method of resource optimization through workload balance
in designing of multiple cellular manufacturing (MCM) systems for flow-shop
environments. The application of a step-by-step structured approach to design MCM
cells more efficiently generates smooth flow shop type with better resource utilization.
ws1 ws2 ws4 ws6 ws9 ws12
For Cell#3 and Cell#4
Cell#3 13 9 20 6 11 7
Cell#4 14 20 0 9 4 13
WS_load 27 29 20 15 15 20
Note: Since workloads on workstations 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 are less than 35, therefore these
workstations can be shared between Cell 3 and Cell 4 Table VII.
ws1 ws2 ws3 ws4 ws5 ws6 ws12
For Cell#5 and Cell#6
Cell#5 18 7 19 14 21 15 7
Cell#6 11 12 1 21 23 8 7
WS_load 29 19 20 35 44 23 14
Note: Since workloads on workstations 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 are less than 35, therefore these workstations
can be shared between Cell 5 and Cell 6 Table VIII.
Job ws1 ws2 ws4 ws7 ws10
Cell#1
6 4 3 5 0 6
12 0 3 0 7 9
13 3 0 0 0 0
14 4 0 0 0 0
18 2 2 0 0 0
31 7 5 0 0 0
Total 20 13 5 7 15
Cell#2
1 3 0 2 0 7
19 7 0 6 0 0
22 14 0 0 0 0
25 3 3 0 7 8
26 0 0 7 0 0
Total 27 3 15 7 15
Sharing same workstation
Cell#1 20 13 5 7 15
Cell#2 27 3 15 7 15
WS_load 47 16 20 14 30
Note: Since workload on workstations 2, 4, 7, and 10 are less than 35, therefore workstations 2, 4, 7, 10
can be shared between Cell 1 and Cell 2 Table VI.
Cellular
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systems
193
An industrial application case with 31 products carried on 12 workstations is presented
to explore the step by steps of designing and analyzing the results of alternative
cellular manufacturing and balancing the workload. MCM designs have become an
important approach for batch production in the last decade, and their layout provides a
dominant flow structure for the production scheduling. The flow shop nature of MCM
adds a simplifying structure to the complexity of planning and scheduling. This
method will generate many alternative designs and configurations of MCM in the form
of highly flexible manufacturing systems. These alternatives could be a better choice
for resource optimization in the industrial application. Together with the associated
costs, each proposed solution for the MCM could help to design and build efficient and
highly flexible systems. Special emphasis will be devoted to the workload balance of
workstations, machines, material handling equipment and WIP with the utilization of
the resources in the production system. This method is practical, experiential and
participates. A program using C language will be written to test the proposed
algorithm for randomly generated input data.
Figure 4.
Cell Workstation Part Workload (%)
1 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12 6, 12, 13, 14, 18, 31 100
2 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 10 1, 19, 22, 25, 26 107
3 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 12 5, 10, 16, 17 88
4 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12 7, 8, 9, 15, 23, 27 106
5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 12 2, 3, 11, 28, 29 98
6 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12 4, 20, 21, 24, 30 105
Table IX.
Summary for six MCM
cells) for 12 workstations
and 31 parts (alternative
solution)
Figure 3.
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