Northwestern University Home Page
Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences

Manufacturing System Design Laboratory
| real-time machine simulation | virtual factory tours |
| games | assembly line station | library |

      
 

 

Project: Design of a Manufacturing Cell

The RTMS system will be used by students in this project in which they must design a manufacturing cell in order to produce a certain number of products per unit time. The following input data are given to each team: (i) List of manufacturing operations that are required to produce the product, (ii) the probability distribution of the time for each operation, (iii) the nature of each operation: manual or automatic, and (iv) the precedence relations among operations. Each student team must then follow the following steps to complete their assignment.



 

Step 1: Design. Each team must use the techniques learned in the class and calculate the minimum number of machines and workers required to achieve the desired throughput. They also need to develop a layout for their manufacturing cell. Furthermore, they need to specify the worker assignments to machines and workers' policy on how to attend their machines.

Step 2: Simulation. Each team uses the RTMS station of the Manufacturing System Design Laboratory to set up a manufacturing system according to their design. This involves positioning the machine simulators according to their layout and setting up the software. They can then start the simulation and work as workers in their cells.

Step 3: Revision. During the simulation, each team will observe their design in action. This uncovers problems such as machines' underutilization, operators' idleness, and large WIP in the cell. Furthermore, since it includes student team as operators in the simulation process, it creates opportunities for the team to experience the positive and negative effects of their proposed design, and makes it easier for them to find ways to improve it.

Step 4: Report. At the assignment deadline, each team must submit a report on their design. The report describes the theoretical model as well as the design improvement achieved during the RTMS experiment. Each report will be evaluated based on the factors such as number of machines and workers, layout, worker policies, throughput of the cell and WIP in the cell. The winning team with with the best design will be asked to present their design to the entire class. Their presentation will be taped on a VHS and kept in the video library.

 
 
 
Seyed Iravani's Home PageMcCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science