IPH | Researchers at the Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover (IPH) have developed a software programme for an objective evaluation of factory layouts. With this tool, you can select your optimum layout numerically instead of following your gut instincts.
Factory efficiency highly depends on the layout – i.e. the arrangement of machines, storage spaces and office premises. For this reason, factory planners have to spend a lot of time on the selection of the optimum layout. There are two ways to evaluate factory layouts: either by expensive and complex simulations or by subjective expert decisions.
To allow for fast, low-priced as well as objective evaluation of factory layouts, the IPH has developed a software demonstrator. First, the user sketches the layout in a grid pattern based on so-called elementary cells, defining, for example, office, storage or assembly areas. At the push of a button, the programme calculates 22 characteristics classified in the four categories changeability, material flow, environmental condition and communication. The result is a final overall evaluation.
The benefit for the future: an objective comparison of various factory layout variants.