Production line design is crucial to the efficiency and productivity of any type of assembly or production line within a factory setting. Different types of designs will function best in certain environments, with factors such as available space for the line, the type of goods produced, and even the rate of production playing roles in choosing the best line configuration. While there are many variables associated with production line design, most methods will make use of a straight line design, a U-shaped design, or what is known as a mixed model design.
The straight line is one of the more common examples of production line design. As the name implies, the layout for the line is more or less a single line that is running in one direction. Along the way, employees will perform specific functions that ultimately lead to finished units of the product that is produced with the factory setting. A production line design of this type can be adapted to even small business settings, creating a work environment that allows for a structured and logical process for completing essential tasks.
Another option with production line design is known as the U design. With this approach, the facility layout allows for a horseshoe configuration that introduces goods at one end, then moves the goods around an open-ended loop. Along the way, machinery or individual workers attach or add some element to the goods, resulting in a finished unit as each good reaches the end of the assembly line. A configuration of this type is often helpful when there is a need to set up the line in a smaller amount of space. Larger production floors that must accommodate the manufacture of multiple goods can sometimes use this approach, since it is possible to set up a series of U-shaped lines in much less space than attempting to operate multiple straight line assemblies.
The mixed model design for production line design seeks to draw on the characteristics and benefits of both the straight line and the U-shape, while minimizing any perceived liabilities associated with either approach. A model of this type may be seen much like a road that is sometimes straight, sometimes curves in one direction or another, and may even double back to a point near the starting point. A production line design of this type will take into consideration any variables that must be accommodated during the production process, including the inspection and removal of second quality goods from the line at various points.
When it comes to production line design, there is no one approach that is inherently superior to all others. Choosing the right design involves understanding the limitations of space, identifying the goals for the production process, and then adapting the line design to allow for the greatest level of productivity. For this reason, there are a number of line designs that are considered hybrids, drawing on elements of several different designs in order to come up with the ideal layout for a given situation.