A Simulation Analysis of the Impact of Family Configuration on Virtual Cellular Manufacturing

V. R. Kannan


Past research has shown that it is possible to simultaneously achieve the setup efficiencies of traditional cellular manufacturing systems and the routeing flexibility of a job shop by viewing cells not as permanent, physical structures, but as temporary, 'virtual' entities. This research demonstrates that the advantages of virtual manufacturing cells can be obtained over a range of part family configurations. In particular, virtual cellular manufacturing is robust to changes in the number and size of families being processed. Further, the research shows that the benefits can be obtained under setup conditions impartial to a family-oriented part environment.