Layout planning – consulting and procedure

Successful layout planning needs professional consulting. Coming up against the limits of capacity with orders and production is seldom seen as a misfortune, although a certain worry arises about having to expand one’s plant now, which would mean high investment costs in any case. Yet there is layout planning, among other things, which should come into practical use in such a case.

Optimal use of the available space through layout planning with consultation

Layout planning, also referred to as in-plant location planning, is the arrangement of machines and assembly tables within the various premises of a production facility. This results in several advantages at once. No long transport routes, intermediate storage or downtimes or waiting times are required. The production structure remains as clear and uncluttered as before. The entire production process is transparent for all employees. There is a high degree of flexibility in production due to the precise supply of all required parts.

Industry 4.0 places high demands on all companies

It is precisely these necessary, modern developments that require adjustments in the manufacturing layout in order to optimally design the diverse interactions between the machines, the buildings and the people. In order to reduce costs, it is fundamentally very important to improve the layout, if possible even before the halls are built and the equipment is purchased.

How layout planning works

First, the ideal concept is considered, whereby the necessary restrictions are deliberately left out of the equation. What is meant here are, for example, financial, personnel or time restrictions. The ideas for the redesign should be put on the table with as little bias as possible in order to develop a feeling for the maximum capacity of the various processes. This involves:

  • the minimization of the material flow and transport effort
  • a high degree of transparency in the production process
  • “Purity” of the production structure
  • Flexibility of use

Only in a second step is the ideal layout applied to a real layout, i.e. to detailed planning. This in turn is subdivided into rough and detailed planning. As the level of detail increases, more and more framework conditions and restrictions are then taken into account.

Rough planning begins with the adaptation of the ideal layout to the building floor plan, which usually cannot be changed. At this point, certain boundary conditions are already clearly recognizable. The material flow is practically predetermined by gates, ramps, elevators or even a siding and the position of a crane. The energy supply can hardly be decoupled from the existing utilities. Furthermore, an extensive communication structure often already exists and certain site dependencies as well as legal and country-specific requirements must be taken into account.

The future hovers above everything

It is almost the rule that certain expansion stages have to be expanded in the medium and long term. This circumstance always flows with great weight into a layout planning with consultation, because the later expenditure for extensions should be kept as small as possible right at the beginning.

The rough layout is therefore usually characterized by several realistic alternatives. Weighted target criteria are assigned to these variants, which leads directly to the favorites. Such target criteria must, of course, be bindingly defined at the very beginning. The final decision for a “rough layout” variant finally results from the cost and economic aspects, which are included in a comparative utility analysis.

Transition to detailed planning

The task now is to refine, modify and optimize the rough layout step by step. All equipment, machines, assembly tables and supply systems must be precisely recorded in drawings for this purpose. When designing a control station, even criteria for ergonomics at the workplace are taken into account. In terms of occupational safety, attention is also paid to maximum noise reduction and lighting that does not unnecessarily strain the eyes of employees.

The freestyle is the implementation planning

In this important last step, the sequence of implementations is determined very specifically, which requires a detailed project plan. This involves defining responsibilities, ensuring delivery service and guaranteeing cost transparency.

Your contact person

Florian Bross

Dr. Florian Bross