Plant layout is the mode of arrangement of all the physical elements of a manufacturing plant. The physical elements include such items as equipment, furniture and any tools necessary for functioning within the plant. The layout is made in such a way that there is quick and efficient movement of materials from one point to the other in the plant. The layout selected should be able to facilitate movement at the lowest possible cost. Another aim of the plant layout is to ensure that there is reduced handling of the product during processing from the point of receiving the raw materials to when the finished product is delivered. There are several plant layouts that can be utilized in a firm depending on its suitability. These layouts include; product/ line layout fixed position/location layout, process/functional layout as well as combined/group layout (Patsiatzis & Papageorgiou, 2002). This paper will discuss the fixed position layout of a plant. The paper will review the advantages of adopting such a system, as well as the demerits involved.
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Fixed position layout is also called the location layout of a plant. It is one of the major and most commonly utilized means of arrangement within manufacturing plants. This layout involves the active movement, from one point to the other of the machine and manpower within the plant. However, the product from the process stays stationary. Manpower and machines are chosen as the moving entities as it is cheaper and more economical to move them. This mode of plant layout is commonly implemented in large-size product-manufacturing firms. Additionally, it is also used in plants that manufacture fragile components. The plan involves the relocation of equipment and manpower to product processing site. Therefore, the product does not follow any assembly line or any assembly station. The fixed layout plan is preferred in instances with a production volume that is high. These include; plants that manufacture aircrafts and microchip manufacturing companies.
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The fixed position layout has several advantages that make it the appropriate plan that can be used in a factory setting. To begin with, there is minimal investment on the layout. As a result of its simplicity and lack of any complex modifications of the plant, the fixed position layout offers an economical plan layout. Additionally, the fixed position layout offers a high degree of flexibility. This makes it advantageous as it accommodates any designs on the job. Furthermore, it increases the ability to incorporate the plant’s operation sequence. Fixed position layout’s flexibility allows for any impromptu changes that may need to have machines or manpower moved. Finally, the plan allows for certain crucial adjustments to be made that discourage absenteeism and adjustments that are in line with the operation sequence of the company (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor, 2011).
On the other hand, several demerits have been linked to the fixed position layout. One of the major disadvantages of the layout is that it unnecessarily prolongs the production period. This in turn, increases the capital investments of implementing the layout. The layout also requires a large space for the storage of equipment and any material close to the product being manufactured. The layout could result in conflicts among workers within the plant. Since the plan allows simultaneous processing actions within the plant, there could be confusions that could result in conflicts (Mukherjee, 2009).
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In conclusion, this layout is appropriate for the chip manufacturing company because it is used to handle the bulk manufacturing of fragile products. The fact that there is minimal handling of the product in this layout makes it convenient in handling the manufacture of the microchips. The low layout investment cost is also an additional advantage since the company will seek to cut on capital expenses as much as possible.