What is plant layout? Types, goals, process diagrams, flowchart (2023)

What is plant layout?

The plant layout is the overall arrangement of the production process, storage room, storage room, tool room, material handling equipment, aisles, racks and sub-warehouses, employee services and all other ancillary items required to facilitate production at the factory.

It includes production and service facilities and ensures the most effective use of the people, materials and machines that make up the process. It is a master plan for coordinating all operations that are carried out within the factory.

Table of contents

  • 1 What is plant layout?
  • 2 Definition of the plant layout
  • 3 objectives of plant design
  • 4 factors influencing plant layout decisions
  • 5 type of plant layout
    • 5.1 Process Layout
      • 5.1.1 Process layout advantages
      • 5.1.2 Disadvantages of Process Layout
    • 5.2 Product Layout
      • 5.2.1 Product layout advantages
      • 5.2.2 Disadvantages of product layout
    • 5.3 Combined Layout
    • 5.4 Project Layout
    • 5.5 Group Layout

Plant layout definition

According to F.G. Moore, “A good layout is one in which materials can be processed quickly and directly. This reduces transport handling, office and other per-unit costs, minimizes floor space, and reduces machine and personnel downtime.”

Plant layout objectives

A good plant layout strives for the following goals:

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  1. Material handling minimization.
  2. Eliminating bottlenecks by balancing plant capacities.
  3. High material turnover due to shorter work cycle.
  4. Effective use of installed capacity to maximize return on investment.
  5. Effective use of space in the factory area.
  6. Effective use of human resources by eliminating idle time.
  7. Elimination, improvement or limitation of disruptive processes, e.g. B. Bad smell operation, vibration operation, etc.
  8. Elimination of the physical exertion required by operational workers.
  9. Prevention of accidents at work.
  10. Better working conditions for employees such as lighting, ventilation, noise and vibration protection, etc.
  11. Decency and order in the work area.
  12. Better customer service through cheaper and better product deliveries according to the delivery promises.

Factors influencing the plant layout decision

The system layout decision is influenced by the following factors:

  1. Type of production: The layout of an engineering unit is significantly different from that of a flour factory, similarly, the layout of a paper factory is different from a tool room, and the layout of an engine assembly line is different from that of a toy factory.
  2. Production System: The plant layout in a continuous production system is completely different from the intermittent production system.
  3. Production scale: The plant layout and material handling equipment in the large organization are different from those in the small manufacturing operation.
  4. Machine type: The use of single-purpose and multi-purpose machines significantly affects the plant layout. Likewise, noisy and vibrating machines require special attention when deciding on the plant layout.
  5. Type of building equipment: The plant layout in a one-story building differs from that in a multi-story building.
  6. Total Space Availability: Allocation of space for machines, workbenches, sub-storage, aisles, etc. is based on available space. Overhead space is used when there is a lack of space.
  7. Possibility of future expansion: The plant layout is insane considering the future needs and the installation of additional facilities.
  8. Equipment of Material Handling Equipment: The plant layout and the material handling services are closely related and the latter has a decisive influence on the design of the production process and the plant services.

Type of plant layout

The popular oneTypes of plant layoutsAre:

  1. process layout
  2. product layout
  3. Combined floor plan
  4. project layout
  5. group layout

process layout

This type of layout is also known as a functional layout. All machines performing a similar type of operations are grouped in one place in the process layout, e.g. B. All lathes, mills, machines, cutting machines, etc. in the design shop are grouped in their same groups. Thus, all forging work is done in one area and all lathes are placed in another area.

In this layout, multiple products can share one machine to take full advantage of it. The sequencing of the machine group is generally, but not necessarily, on a job basis.

In this type of layout, the process rather than the product plays a dominant role. The product is considered secondarily and brought to the processing section with similar machines stationed at a specific location for processing. This type of layout is more suitable for make-to-order.

The typical arrangement of the machines in the process layout is as follows:

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Advantages of the process layout

  • It eliminates the duplication of machines and allows the best use of installed capacity.
  • It facilitates flexibility in production. It's more flexible than a line layout. Different products can be manufactured without changes in the layout of the machine.
  • The production capacity is not arranged in a rigid order and fixed nominal capacity with line balancing.
  • The failure of a machine does not interrupt the entire production flow.
  • A specialization in supervision becomes possible.
  • Individual incentive systems can be developed.

Disadvantages of the process layout

  • Due to the lack of a linear production process, it is not possible to maintain line balancing in production. So the problems of bottleneck and waiting and idle capacity.
  • Material handling costs increase due to long routes and traceability between processes.
  • Processing time is increased, which reduces inventory turnover and increases investment in inventory.
  • The test costs increase. Due to frequent changes in machine setup, inspection is required at every stage of the process.
  • The cost of supervision increases due to specialized supervisors and a larger number of supervisors are required for each process unit.
  • Production planning and control becomes difficult due to complexities arising from routing, scheduling, shipping and tracking.
  • It is not possible to implement the group incentive programs based on the quantity of products manufactured.
  • More space is needed for internal storage, a material reservoir, and provisions for expansion of each stage of the process.

product layout

With this arrangement, the machines are arranged in the order required by the product in question. All machines required to balance each product line are arranged in a sequential line, but not necessarily in a straight line. It is also known as “Product Line Layout”.

In this layout, a product passes through all the machines lined up in the order required for its manufacture. The best-known example of this type of arrangement can be seen in automobile production. For this layout to be successful, the workload must be balanced across the different machines. The process of uniform loading at each stage of production is calledLine-Balancing.

In this type of layout, the product dominates the process, in the sense that the product is given primary importance and the process engine must remain present at a point where the product requires its services.

So in contrast to theprocess layoutthe process is given less importance than the product.product layoutis more suitable for continuous flow production with few production pieces. It does not require frequent changes in machine setup.

The typical layout of the machines in the product with separate independent product lines for product A and product B is as shown in the figure below:

Product layout advantages

  • Reduced material handling costs due to the straight-forward production flow.
  • Mechanization of material transport between fixed points.
  • Line balancing can eliminate bottlenecks and idle capacity.
  • Shorter operating cycle due to shorter and faster material movements.
  • Maximum use of machine and work capacity by developing a proper balance between them.
  • Effective control over production with reduced oversight by generalist supervisors. By reducing manufacturing to simple steps, we can often use less skilled labour.
  • Effective quality control with reduced control points. It does not require frequent changes in machine setup.
  • Effective production planning and control. Unlike the process layout, routing, planning, shipping, and tracking are relatively easier.
  • Maximum space utilization through straight production flow and reduced intermediate storage requirements.
  • It facilitates the implementation of group incentive schemes for workers.
  • It's relatively easy to control.

Disadvantages of the product layout

  • The duplication of machines and plants requires increased investment in them, which sometimes leads to unused capacity.
  • The flow of production is regulated by the linear process and the fixed nominal output and is therefore very inflexible.
  • The failure of a single machine in the line interrupts the entire production flow.
  • Unlike the process layout, the benefits of specialized monitoring are not possible.
  • Since the entire production is the result of the joint efforts of all factories in the line, it is difficult to implement individual incentive systems.
  • They are less flexible than others. Any change in the product requires a realignment of the line.

Combined layout

In general, there is no pure process or pure product layout in practice. Both process and product layouts are mutually exclusive. A reasonable compromise that takes advantage of both layouts is possible to some extent. Therefore, efforts are made to have the combined layout, which includes the advantages of process and product layout.


The combined layout is developed as follows:

  • Product layout for the main product with a process layout for common or by-product development of the unused capacity of the product layout along with the required marginal investment in the process layout.
  • Diversify production to fill the unused capacity of product layout. Products with a completely negative correlation to the product line can make maximum use of the unused capacity of the product layout.
  • In the product layout, some processes may be separated from the product line, e.g. e.g. offensive, dangerous, requiring special handling and repeated execution, etc.

project layout

Manufacturing operations require the movement of people, machines and materials. In general, few inputs tend to be static while the others move.

In the product layout and process layout, the machines are usually permanently installed and the operators are static in relation to their specified workplaces.

It is only the materials that move from plant to plant for the purpose of processing. But where the product is large and heavy, it tends to be static, e.g. B. in shipbuilding.

In such a production system, the product remains static and people and machines move to perform operations on the product. The production properties are enough to treat it as a separate layout type, i.e. H. static product layout.

group layout

This attempts to introduce some of the benefits of a line layout to a situation where a pure line layout is impractical. Here machines are set up in groups.

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Each machine group produces a maximum of parts that require similar treatment. This layout is between process layout and line layout. It is easier to control than a strict process layout and offers more flexibility in the manufacturing system in terms of batch size variations and different workflows.


  1. Chase R.B., Jacobs F.R., Operations Management for Competitive Advantage, The Mc Graw Hill
  2. R.Johnson, „Spacecraft for Multi- Floor Layout Planning“, Management Science 28, Nr. 4 (April 1982), PP407-17
  3. MS. Sommers und J. B. Kernan, „A Behavioral Approach to Planning, Layout and Display“, Journal of Retailing, Winter 1965-66, S. 21-27.

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What is plant layout answer? ›

Plant layout is the arrangement of machines, work areas and service areas within a factory. Plant layout involves the development of physical relationship among building, equipment and production operations, which will enable the manufacturing process to be carried on efficiently.

What is plant layout types? ›

Types of Plant Layout:

Product layout or line processing layout or flow-line layout. Process layout or functional layout or job shop layout. Fixed position layout or static layout. Cellular manufacturing (CM) layout or Group Technology layout. Combination layout or Hybrid layout or Mixed layout.

What is the goal of plant layout? ›

The primary objective of plant layout is to maximize production at minimum cost. The layout should be designed in such a way that it is flexible to change according to new processes and production techniques.

What is process layout in plant layout? ›

In manufacturing engineering, process layout is a design for the floor plan of a plant which aims to improve efficiency by arranging equipment according to its function. The production line should ideally be designed to eliminate waste in material flows, inventory handling and management.

What is plant layout in simple words? ›

Plant layout is the overall arrangement of the production process, store-room, stock-room, tool-room, material handling equipment, aisles, racks and sub-stores, employee services and all other accessories required for facilitation of the production in the factory.

What is layout very short answer? ›

: the plan or design or arrangement of something laid out: such as.

What are the 4 types of layout? ›

There are four basic layout types: process, product, hybrid, and fixed position. In this section we look at the basic characteristics of each of these types. Then we examine the details of designing some of the main types.

What is plant layout quizlet? ›

Definition. 1 / 19. Plant layout is the organization of the company's physical facilities to promote the efficient utilization of equipment; material, people, and energy.

What are the 3 procedure for layout of plants? ›

Determine space requirements and allocate activity areas. Develop plot plan and block plan i.e. integrate all plant operations. Develop detailed layouts and plan building along with its arrangement. Evaluate, modify and check the layouts.

What is the importance of plant layout to work process? ›

Some of the important objectives of a good plant layout are as follows: Overall simplification of production process in terms of equipment utilization, minimization of delays, reducing manufacturing time, and better provisions for maintenance.

What is the importance of layout? ›

Layout is one of the key decisions that determines the long-run efficiency of operations. Layout has strategic implications because it establishes an organization's competitive priorities in regard to capacity, processes, flexibility, and cost, as well as quality of work life, customer contact, and image.

What can be the steps in designing process layout? ›

There are three steps in designing process layouts:
  • Step 1 Gather information.
  • Step 2 Develop a block plan or schematic of the layout.
  • Step 3 Develop a detailed layout.

What is process layout known as? ›

Process layout is also known as functional layout.

In other words, all lathes will be in one location, all milling machines in another, and so on; machines are organized according to their functions.

What is the difference between plant layout and process layout? ›

Process layout is a type of plant layout wherein like machines are grouped in a single department.
Comparison Chart.
Basis for ComparisonProduct LayoutProcess Layout
Production TimeLessComparatively high
Production CostHigh fixed cost and low variable cost.Comparatively low fixed cost and high variable cost.
7 more rows
May 24, 2019

What is a layout diagram? ›

A drawing meant to depict the physical arrangement of the wires and the components they connect is called artwork or layout, physical design, or wiring diagram.

How can you describe layout? ›

Layout design is the process of arranging visual and textual elements on-screen or on-paper in order to grab a reader's attention and communicate information in a visually appealing way.

What is a layout structure? ›

Application of the layout structure

Layouts can feature one or more subdivisions, both horizontally and vertically. The division is straight, rectangular and bled to the edge; it can be either symmetrical or clearly asymmetrical. Both the number of the spaces and their size relative to each other is flexible.

What are the 4 basic layout types? ›

There are four basic layout types: process, product, hybrid, and fixed position. In this section we look at the basic characteristics of each of these types. Then we examine the details of designing some of the main types.

What are the factors of plant layout? ›

Some of the major factors which affect plant layout are: (1) Policies of management (2) Plant location (3) Nature of the product (4) Volume of production (5) Availability of floor space (6) Nature of manufacturing process and (7) Repairs and maintenance of equipment and machines.

What are the 5 main types of plants? ›

Types of Plants-Herbs, Shrubs, Trees, Climbers, and Creepers.

What are the stages of layout? ›

There are three steps in designing process layouts: Step 1 Gather information. Step 2 Develop a block plan or schematic of the layout. Step 3 Develop a detailed layout.

What is an example of a process layout? ›

Common process layout examples are restaurants, clothing factories, clothing accessories facilities, and toy factories. The product layout , or line layout, uses an assembly line where workers and equipment are arranged in order of production sequence.

What are the 5 basic principles of layout and composition? ›

Watch this video by GCFLearnFree.org to get an understanding of five basic principles of layout and composition:
  • Proximity.
  • White space.
  • Alignment.
  • Contrast.
  • Repetition.
Aug 20, 2021

What are the four phases of layout planning? ›

Site layout: shows how the building should be located in a proper way. Block layout: shows the sizes of departments in the buildings. Detailed layout: shows the arrangements of equipment and workstations in the departments. Workstation layout: shows the locations of every part of the workstation.

What are the three main types of layout *? ›

There are mainly three types of layout: 1. Product or Line Layout 2. Process Layout 3. Combination of Product and Line Layouts.

What is process layout used for? ›

A process layout is a type of facility layout. Organizations often use process layouts to design floor plans and arrange equipment for maximized efficiency. Plants with a process layout may arrange work stations, machinery, tools and other equipment in groups according to the functions they perform.


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