Ever wondered how machines, equipment, mechanized toys, and other products that require many parts are produced in big volumes? It could be mind boggling if you try to analyze how each part or component is laid in place or how engine wirings are connected and intertwined with each other like some crafty hands wove them.
Most manufacturers make use of production flow to be able to come out with their goods en masse. Production follows an assembly line where every part of the equipment is added and put together. Production flow provides an easier, simpler and more systematic process of creating an item especially motor vehicles.
But how can a manufacturing company keep up with the intricacies of its own production? This is done with the aid of Production Flow Analysis (PFA).
Production Flow Analysis is a method that is used in checking the requirements of a certain product as well as examining the condition of each machine used in the manufacture of items. Production Flow Analysis helps in establishing the designation of machines and tools for each cell according to the cell layout in the assembly line. Usually in a car manufacturing company, the machines are laid out one by one following a sequence from start to finish of the assembly. This is to allow an uninterrupted flow of production in which one piece of material is assembled in one single run.
Production flow analysis is generally presented and laid out in a column pattern. Cell analysis is based on the data seen in the rows and columns that represent simultaneous groupings. For instance, certain components are grouped to make five cells. Meanwhile another group of components number to eight. Now, machines are assigned for each cell group or “family”. It could be one machine for one family and three machines for another family, depending on the requirements and extent of assembly work. Sometimes the tasks for each machine overlap in which case it services two or more families. At this point, the manufacturer may consider purchasing another machine to maintain the smooth course of work.
Some problems may be encountered in a production flow analysis. One of these is when the analyst finds out that some parts of similar structure require different machines. This may be caused by policies in production that may have changed over the years. For instance, a car part that used to be serviced by machine A five years ago has been altered and improved. In this case a re-routing of task assignments for the machines is necessary.
Another concern that may rise in production flow analysis is thermal analysis. Since mass production by large manufacturing companies involves huge volumes of products, production is continuous throughout the year. Change in temperature and weather condition can affect the condition of machines, hence thermal analysis is often conducted to know if the efficiency of the equipment used in production is altered with the change in temperature. Adjustment in natural weather condition is not the only factor that may affect the machines, but also change in temperature due to gas emissions or electrical discharges. In any case, recommendations given by production flow analysts are based on their observations from the given matrices.