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Group technology (GT) is a philosophy that implies the notion of recognizing

and exploiting similarities in three different ways:
1. By performing like activities together
2. By standardizing similar tasks
3. By efficiently storing and retrieving information about recurring
Large manufacturing system can be decomposed into smaller subsystems of part
families based on similarities in
1. design attributes and

2. manufacturing features


part configuration (round or prismatic)

dimensional envelope (length to diameter ratio)

surface integrity (surface roughness, dimensional tolerances)

material type

raw material state (casting, forging, bar stock, etc.)


operations and operation sequences (turning, milling, etc.)

batch sizes

machine tools

cutting tools

work holding devices

processing times

An essential aspect of the integration of CAD and CAM is the

integration of information used by engineering and manufacturing and all the
other departments in a firm.

Group technology emphasis on part families based on similarities in design

attributes and manufacturing, therefore GT contributes to the integration of CAD
and CAM

The Basic Key Features for a Successful Group Technology Applications:

Group Layout

Short Cycle Flow Control

A Planned Machine Loading

In most of todays factories it is possible to divide all the made components into
families and all the machines into groups, in such a way that all the parts in each
family can be completely processed in one group only.
The tree main types of layout are

Line Layout

Group Layout

Functional Layout

Line Layout:
Line Layout is used at present in simple process industries, in continuous
assembly, and for mass production of components required in very large

Functional Layout:
In Functional Layout, all machines of the same type are laid out together in the
same section under the same foreman. Each foreman and his team of workers
specialize in one process and work independently.This type of layout is based on
process specialization

Group Layout:

In Group Layout, each foreman and his team specialize in the production of
one list of parts and co-operate in the completion of common task. This type
of layouts based on component specialization.

The Difference between group and functional layout:

Families :
The word Family is used as a name for any list of similar parts. The families
used with group layout are lists of parts which are similar because they are all
made on the same group of machines. This type of family is called a
Production Family. However, not all parts which are similar in shape will
appear in the same family.
The other important features that is important choosing the families;

Manufacturing tolerances

Required quantities


Special features, which will require the use of different machines

Groups :
A group is a list of machines, selected for layout together in one place, because
it contains all necessary facilities to complete the processing of a given family of
parts. A family of parts can only be defined by relating it to a particular group of
machines, and a group by relating it to a family. Groups vary greatly in type and
size, widely in the number of machines and different machines types.
As group size is reduced, more types of machine will be needed in more than
one group and there is an increased risk that some new machines must be
Another factor in choosing the size of group is the number of people who will
be employed in them
Group technology begun by grouping parts into families, based on their

There are three methods that can be used to form part families:

Manuel visual inspection

Production flow analysis

Classification and coding

Manual visual inspection involves arranging a set of parts into groups known
as part families by
visually inspecting the physical characteristics of the parts.

Manual visual inspection

incorrect results

human error

different judgment by different people


least sophisticated

good for small companies having smaller number of parts

Production flow analysis: Parts that go through common operations are

grouped into part families.
The machines used to perform these common operations may be grouped as
a cell, consequently this technique can be used in facility layout (factory

Coding methods: are employed in classifying parts into part families

Coding refers to the process of assigning symbols to the parts
The symbols represent design attributes of parts or manufacturing
features of part families
The variations in codes resulting from the way the symbols are assigned can
be grouped into three distinct type of codes:

Monocode or hierarchical code

Polycode or attribute

Hybrid or mixed code


This coding system was originally developed for biological classification in

18th century.

The structure of monocode is like a tree in which each symbol amplifies the
information provided in the previous digit.

The following figure illustrates the structure of a monocode:

A monocode (hierarchical code) provides a large amount of information in a

relatively small number of digits

useful for storage and retrieval of design-related information such as part

geometry, material, size, etc.

it is difficult to capture information on manufacturing sequences in

hierarchical manner, so applicability of this code in manufacturing is rather

The code symbols are independent of each other

Each digit in specific location of the code describes a unique property of the

it is easy to learn and useful in manufacturing situations where the

manufacturing process have to be described

the length of a polycode may become excessive because of its

unlimited combinational features

Differences in information storage capacity between monocode and polycode:

Assume that a code consists of a five symbols and that in each of the five
code fields the digits 0 to 9 are used. Determine how many mutually
exclusive characteristics can potentially be stored in the monocode and the

Number of characteristics may be stored in a monocode:

101 + 102 + 103 + 104 + 105 =111110

Number of characteristics may be stored in a polycode:

10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 50


It is the mixture of both monocode and polycode systems. Mixed
code retains the advantages of both systems. Most coding systems use this
code structure.

The first digit for example, might be used to denote the type of part, such as
gear. The next five position might be reserved for a short attribute code that
would describe the attribute of the gear. The next digit (7th digit) might be
used to designate another subgroup, such as material, followed by another
attribute code that would describe the attributes.

A code created by this manner would be relatively more compact than a pure
attribute code while retaining the ability to easily identify parts with specific

The OPITZ classification system:

it is a mixed (hybrid) coding system

developed by Opitz, Technical University of Aachen, 1970

it is widely used in industry

it provides a basic framework for understanding the classification and coding


it can be applied to machined parts, non-machined parts (both formed and

cast) and purchased parts

it considers both design and manufacturing information

The Opitz coding system consists of three groups of digits:










part geometry and features relevant to part design .

information relevant to manufacturing.
Production processes and production sequences .


One of the primary uses of coding systems is to develop part families.
Example: Consider the family of ferrous parts formed by first three digits of Opitz
form code; 131.

This implies that the attributes associated with the family members are
length/diameter ratio in the range 0.5 to 3.0, all parts stepped to one end and
internal shape elements with threads.
A number of mathematical approaches have also been developed to form part
families using classification and coding system.


For the purpose of selecting or developing your own code, it is important to
understand the attributes of classification and coding systems.
Some of the important classification and coding system attributes include:
1. Flexibility for various applications such as part family formation, process
planning, costing, and purchasing
2. Accuracy, to provide correct information on parts
3. Expandability, to accommodate information on more part attributes deemed
important later on
4. Ease of learning
5. Ease of retrieval
6. Reliability and availability of software
7. Suitability for specific applications

Matching these attributes with the objectives of an organization would be helpful in

selecting or developing a coding system to meet organizational needs.
Group technology is a management strategy to help eliminate waste caused by
duplication of effort.
It affects all areas of a company, including:


equipment specification

facilities planning

process planning

production control

quality control

tool design



Some of the well-known tangible and intangible benefits of implementing GT :

1. Engineering design

Reduction in new parts design

Reduction in the number of drawings through standardization

Reduction of drafting effort in new shop drawings

Reduction of number of similar parts, easy retrieval of similar functional

parts, and identification of substitute parts

2. Layout planning

Reduction in production floor space required

Reduced material-handling effort

3. Specification of equipment, tools, jigs, and fixtures

Standardization of equipment

Implementation of cellular manufacturing systems

Significant reduction in up-front costs incurred in the release of new parts for

4. Manufacturing: process planning

Reduction in setup time and production time

Alternative routing leading to improved part routing

Reduction in number of machining operations and numerical control (NC)

programming time

5. Manufacturing: production control

Reduced work-in-process inventory

Easy identification of bottlenecks

Improved material flow and reduced warehousing costs

Faster response to schedule changes

Improved usage of jigs, fixtures, pallets, tools, material handling, and

manufacturing equipment

6. Manufacturing: quality control

Reduction in number of defects leading to reduced inspection effort

Reduced scrap generation

Better output quality

Increased accountability of operators and supervisors responsible for quality

production, making it easier to implement total quality control concepts.

7. Purchasing

Coding of purchased part leading to standardized rules for purchasing

Economies in purchasing possible because of accurate knowledge of raw

material requirements

Reduced number of part and raw materials

Simplified vendor evaluation procedures leading to just-in-time purchasing

8. Customer service

Accurate and faster cost estimates

Efficient spare parts management, leading to better customer service

Cellular manufacturing is an application of group technology in
manufacturing in which all or a portion of a firms manufacturing system has been
converted into cells.
A manufacturing cell is a cluster of machines or processes located in
close proximity and dedicated to the manufacture of a family of parts.
The parts are similar in their processing requirements, such as
operations, tolerances, and machine tool capacities
The primary objectives in implementing a cellular manufacturing
system are to reduce:

setup times (by using part family tooling and sequencing)

flow times (by reducing setup and move times and wait time for
moves and using smaller batch sizes)

reduce inventories

market response times

In addition, cells represent sociological units that have more

tendency to teamwork. This means that motivation for process
improvements often arises naturally in manufacturing cells.

Manufacturing cells are natural candidates for just-in-time (JIT)


Functional and cellular layouts of an electronics plant:

Introduction to Cellular Manufacturing:

Cellular Manufacturing is an application of group technology in

which dissimilar machines or processes have be aggregated into
each of which is dedicated to the production of a part or
product family or a limited group of families.

Benefits of Cellular Manufacturing:

Composite Part Concept:

A Composite Part for a given family, which includes all of the design
and manufacturing attributes of the family.

In general, an individual part in the family will have some of the

features that characterize the family but not all of them. The
composite part possesses all of the features

Machine Cell Design:

Design of the machine cell is critical in cellular manufacturing. The

cell design determines to a great degree the performance of the cell.

Types of machine cells and layouts:

GT manufacturing cells can be classified according to the number of

machines and the degree to which the material flow is mechanized
between machines.

Four common GT cell configurations:

1. Single machine cell (Type I M)
2. Group machine cell with manual material handling (Type II M
generally, Type III M less common)
3. Group machine cell with semi-integrated handling (Type II M
generally, Type III M less common).
4. Flexible manufacturing cell or flexible manufacturing system
(Type II A generally, Type III A less common)

Machine Cell Design:

Single machine cell consists of one machine plus supporting fixtures

and tooling.

This type of cell can be applied to workparts whose attributes allow

them to be made on one basis type of process, such as turning or

Machine Cell Design:

Group machine cell with manual handling is an arrangement of more

than one machine used collectively to produce one or more part

There is no provision for mechanized parts movement between the

machines in the cell. Instead, the human operators who run the cell
perform the material handling function. The cell is often organized
into a U-shaped layout.

U shaped layout
Machine Cell Design:

Group machine cell with semi-integrated handling uses a

mechanized handling system, such as a conveyor, to move parts
between machines in the cell.

(a)in-line layout
(b)loop layout
(c)rectangular layout
Machine Cell Design:

Flexible manufacturing system combines a fully integrated material

handling system with automated processing stations.

The FMS is the most highly automated of the Group Technology

machine cells.

Machine Cell Design:

2- Types of part movements

Determining the most appropriate cell layout depends on the

routings of parts produced in the cell.

Four types of part movement can be distinguished in a mixed model

part production system.

1. Repeat Operation, in which a consecutive operation is carried out on

the same machine, so that the part does not actually move.
2. In-sequence move, in which the part move from the current machine
to an immediate neighbor in the forward direction.
3. By-passing move, in which the part moves forward from the current
machine to another machine that is two or more machines ahead.
4. Backtracking move, in which the part moves from the current
machine in the backward direction to another machine.