Cellular manufacturing is a process of manufacturing which is a subsection of just-in-time manufacturing and lean manufacturing encompassing group technology. The goal of cellular manufacturing is to move as quickly as possible, make a wide variety of similar products, while making as little waste as possible. Cellular manufacturing involves the use of multiple “cells” in an assembly line fashion. Each of these cells is composed of one or multiple different machines which accomplish a certain task. The product moves from one cell to the next, each station completing part of the manufacturing process. Often the cells are arranged in a “U-shape” design because this allows for the overseer to move less and have the ability to more readily watch over the entire process. One of the biggest advantages of cellular manufacturing is the amount of flexibility that it has. Since most of the machines are automatic, simple changes can be made very rapidly.
What is ‘Manufacturing Cells’
Sets of machines that are grouped by the products or parts they produce in a lean manufacturing environment. This system is used in the cellular manufacturing concept, which is distinct from the traditional functional manufacturing system in which all similar machines are grouped together. The use of manufacturing cells improves material flow and is especially suited for batch production, even in relatively low volumes.
Explaining ‘Manufacturing Cells’
One of the challenges of implementing a cellular manufacturing system is the actual establishment of manufacturing cells. If the same machines are required in different cells, it may result in higher capital requirements. However, the benefits of manufacturing cells, such as higher productivity, better responsiveness to market conditions and the ability to produce customized goods in small volumes, more than offset these drawbacks.
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