An new approach for the automatic analysis and control of material handling systems: integrated layout flow analysis (ILFA)


In the majority of small and medium sized enterprises (SEMs), the direct costs of material handling cannot be clearly measured. There are several reasons for this, including the large number of product types, complexity of their production cycle, and continuous change in markets. Therefore, production managers require flexible tools to create a suitable material handling system model which explicitly and rapidly calculates the indices required as these are traditionally neglected or laboriously approximated, (i.e., time and cost in material flow inside the factory, storage area requirements, and MH utilization percentage). This paper proposes an integrated approach to analyzing and controlling material handling operations in an industrial manufacturing plant from a “full quantitative” point of view. The model presented unites quite different fields of research into a unique methodology. This material handling model rapidly and automatically provides production managers with extensive and significant information. As a result, integrated layout flow analysis interrelates systematic layout planning with operational research algorithms and visual interactive simulation, using a complete software platform to implement them. This integrated layout flow analysis approach focuses on determining the space requirement for manufacturing department buffers, the transportation system requirements, the performance indices, and the time and cost of material flows spent in the layout and in MH traffic jams.

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Correspondence to Mauro Gamberi.

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Gamberi, M., Manzini, R. & Regattieri, A. An new approach for the automatic analysis and control of material handling systems: integrated layout flow analysis (ILFA). Int J Adv Manuf Technol 41, 156 (2009).

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  • Material handling
  • Plant layout analysis
  • Automated guided vehicle