Selection model for material handling equipment’s used in flexible manufacturing system

Material handling (MH) is an important issue for every production site and has a great dependence upon the layout of the system. The important issue in the design of MH system is the selection of material handling equipment for every MH operation. Based on the literature survey in this area, our purpose is to focus on the evaluation of the MHS-Layout of the system, due to their strong interdependence. The aim of this paper is to present a method for the selection of material handling equipment (MHE) for a flexible manufacturing system. In the first phase, the system considers major issues, rate of transfer, the average time to transfer, flexibility etc., which is essential for the system. In the second phase, the system selects the most feasible MHE types for every MH operation in a given application depends upon these major issues using a fuzzy logic controller.
  1. Introduction
The selection of material handling equipment is an important function for the design of the material handling system. The production process, effective utilization of manpower, production, and flexibility can also be improved by using the proper material handling equipment. The importance of the selection of material handling equipment cannot be overlooked. Today a wide range of material handling equipment available, for a given production scenario determination of best equipment is not an easy task. A Material Handling (MH) system is responsible for transporting materials between workstations with minimum obstruction and joins all workstations and workshops in manufacturing systems by acting as a basic integrator. According to our definition, ‘‘MH is the art of implementing movement economically and safely” [1]. In industry MH play a vital role because materials movement is not possible without MH equipment and therefore production could not be accomplished.
Nowadays manufacturing systems have become more and more complex. The design of the manufacturing system is very challenging. Because of this decision-makers possess decision tools and assistance necessary to manage this activity. For these reasons, we are interested in the evaluation of the performance of the physical part of the flexible manufacturing system (FMS). This physical part is widely known as material handling systems (MHSs) [2]. This fact highlights the importance of the selection of MHEs when a manufacturing system is designed. This Choice greatly affects the performances and is complex for different reasons [3,4]. Firstly, there are considerable interactions between machines and MHSs; secondly the layout/framework exerts a major influence over it[5], thirdly many various MHSs are available. The design of FMS is also a difficult activity because existing methods only evaluate specific aspects of the solutions proposed by designers [6]. In order to help the designer or the decision-makers in their work, it would be very useful to have indicators which could measure the performance of the various solutions. A few useful indicators have been suggested in the literature related to FMS design [7-8].  As a result of literature survey in this area, we present in this paper the indicators for material handling system, we have retained as suited to this purpose and easily implemented. 

An efficient MH system greatly improves the competitiveness of a product through the reduction of handling cost, enhances the production process, increases production and system flexibility, provides effective utilisation of manpower and decreases lead time [9, 10]. The basic principle of material handling include the use of  system approach (layout of the system) where the material handling required for the entire factory is considered and simplification of moves through the reduction and /or elimination of unnecessary  moves of the material handling equipment. Traditionally, MHS have been determined by “experts” who analyse some alternatives from which selection of material handling equipment (MHE) is made on the experience of the experts in the application environment. In this paper we give indicators for the selection of material handling equipments such as AGV, Conveyor etc. for the layout of the system. These indicators are flexibility, average time, quickness etc. Flexibility word taken from Latin word bendable which means mobile and adjustable. Flexibility can be defined as the ability or capability of the system to adopt the change. Flexibility is a multidimensional and polymorphous concept with many definitions. Indicators for material handling  are about monitoring key trends and conditions within a system area or region leading to an understanding of ‘what we want’ and ‘what we need to take action’ to achieve system-wide goals. These indicators reflect a move away from traditional indicators which tend to focus on economic measures, to ones that better reflect the quality of the system. In these indicators, flexibility and average time indicator play direct role for the selection of material handling equipment in flexible manufacturing system. In this paper we focus our study on flexibility indicator, indicator for quickness and indicator for average time taken between the machine and work. Flexibility indicator is for the measuring the flexibility of the pair MHS-Layout of the system, indicator for quickness is for the system to take quick action between the work and machine and indicator for time is for counting the time taken by the MHE to transfer the load from one station/ machine to another station/machine.

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This article is published in peer review journal and open access journal, International journal of research in engineering and innovation (IJREI) which have a high impact factor journal for more details regarding this article, please go through our journal website.

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