This paper considers the joint cell clustering-layout problem where machine cells are to be located along the popular bidirectional linear material flow layout. The joint problem seeks to minimize the actual intercell flow cost instead of the typical measure that minimizes the number of intercell movements when the layout problem is excluded from the clustering process. Owing to the computational difficulty, a three-phase approach is proposed using the cut-tree-network model to solve this joint problem. The cell clustering and layout problem is transformed into a multi-terminal network flow model. A cut tree is constructed and partitioned into a number of subgraphs via the selected primary path. Each subgraph is a clustered cell and their locations are assigned to the layout sequence by comparing the cut capacities. Thus, the proposed approach concurrently determines the machine cells and their relative sequences in the bidirectional linear flow layout. Computational procedures are illustrated and additional experiments, with data adapted from the literature, are performed to demonstrate the viability of the approach.
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