Layout Models for the Food Processing Industry

Read this article. The topic focuses on the most efficient and effective layout model for food production. Can you identify one advantage of modifying an existing layout to increase efficiency?

6. Results and Discussion

The proposed framework conveniently facilitates handling the aspects of data requirement in order to arrive at a decision on the layout. The OEE, maximum production capacity and finally the area requirement for the layout were obtained by following the framework. One advantage when modifying an existing layout is the knowledge of most of data related to machine performance and the process. Hence, machine capacity, physical size of machinery, process details, and area requirement for sections could be obtained easily. Furthermore, this information was accurate as no assumptions were made when obtaining data.

The proposed diamond model resolved the major decision points in the FLP. The location of the five sections of the factory was clear. The process equipment to be positioned in these five sections (i.e., primary manufacturing, secondary manufacturing, utility, warehouse, and administration) was clearly known as these were identified when the framework was applied in the first stage. This simplified the process of providing the solution to the FLP. A process-oriented layout was used in the arrangement of the equipment in the five sections. The relationship chart and the distance chart helped to reach the best location for the equipment in the layout.

Table 1 lists the improvement observed in the facility in terms of the key performance indicators (KPIs) after the implementation of the layout change.

Table 1 KPI chart for factory.

Description Before After

Overall equipment efficiency, OEE 60% 82%
Material waste per batch, % 2.4% 0.8%
Carbon dioxide emission, kg/MT 62.5 51.6

As per the results shown in Table 1, it is observed that the new layout has helped to increase the overall equipment efficiency of the factory. This is due to reduction of down time in the process. Supervision of machines became relatively easy as similar machines were grouped together. Communication of machine failures and production issues was efficient due to close proximity location of machinery. This helped supervisors and technicians to respond promptly to maintenance activities and provide solutions to avoid machine down time.

The comparison of from-to matrix (travel distance) and the travel distance to weight before and after the layout change is given in Tables 2 and 3, respectively. Those tables indicate the reduction in the distance travelled and the weight into distance travelled after the modification. For instance, the cumulative travel distance of BIB area was reduced by 36% and the cumulative distance into weight was reduced by 29%. Similarly all the parameters of Jar, Sachet, and BIB filling process were reduced in a favourable manner in the new layout.

Table 2 Travel distance comparison.

SKU Distance (m)
Before After Improvement

Sachet 628 364 42%
Bulk powder 1,603 1,263 21%
BIB 924 464 50%
Jar 842 475 44%
Total 3,398 2,565 36%

Table 3 Travel distance into weight comparison.

KU Distance into weight (mkg)
Before After Improvement

Sachet 156,449 126,968 19%
Bulk powder 800,430 629,388 21%
BIB 403,726 196,141 51%
Jar 145,354 114,172 21%
Total 1,505,960 1,066,669 29%

The changes improved ergonomics of the workplace as well. For example, pulling of heavy pallet trucks for long distances was reduced thus providing a more relaxing working environment. However, the level of improvement needs to be verified.

The layout development was performed considering the OEE as 60%. Once the factory started operating after modification, the OEE gradually increased to 82%. The OEE was stable at 82% after one year of operation. This increased the capacity of the facility. However, other determining factors such as equipment and maintenance may also have contributed towards the improvement of OEE and further investigation to ascertain that the contribution due to facility change is required.

Allocation of area for sections of the diamond model can be changed as per the area requirement for each section. This area requirement can be derived from the framework. However, the location of sections as per the model is recommended. In the modified processing plant, the primary area was located in a corner of the layout that could create contamination risks as well as material and personnel movement issues. The single wall protection from the external environment can be breached due to weak links such as unsealed windows, glass partitions, utility pipes, and HVAC system. This leaves the primary manufacturing area vulnerable to contamination.