Facility Layout (Re)Design Using Planar and Network Location Approaches
Rajan Batta Principal Investigator
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9800429 Batta This grant provides funding for the development of a graphical layout software that will be based on new theory developed from researching the interface between two separate, yet related, fields in Operations Research -- location theory and layout analysis. This research will concentrate on the analysis of two new problems. The first one is called the planar layout problem in which machines or cells/departments have to be located on the available shop floor area in the presence of other existing machines or cells/departments. In the second problem, called the mixed planar/network layout problem, the new machines have to be located such that they complement the aisles in the manufacturing facility. For both problems, the focus is to perform these locations so as to minimize the material handling cost. Once the two problems have been thoroughly analyzed, we will develop an integrated software tool to implement the theoretical results of the study. Current Layout tools focus almost exclusively on the redesign of an entire facility. Though this is ideally what most businesses want to do, it is much more common to add some additional space to an existing manufacturing facility and to relayout both the existing and the new machines so as to utilize the total space available and improve manufacturing operations. The software developed will specifically address such recurring reengineering efforts on shop-floor layouts. On the theoretical end, this research will contribute to the scientific literature by bringing the two fields of location and layout analysis significantly "closer" together. This should stir additional work and interest from other members of the scientific community, since developments in these fields have traditionally stayed quite separated.