The formation of machine cells and part families in a uni-directional loop material handling facility has been considered in this paper. The decision parameters include demand data and routing sequence of parts, processing times, unique and duplicated machine types, machine capacities or workload, and the uni-directional uni-cyclic material handling facilities. In this unique cell formation process, a divide and conquer algorithm is proposed to quickly estimate the intercell material movement cost that includes both forward flow and backward flow, instead of the typical measure that minimizes the number of intercell movements between machine cells. The detail of the proposed three-phase approach and the significance of material flow features are illustrated with two examples. Additional computational studies include 18 instances that are adapted from the literature, with the large data set up to 37 machines and 45 part types. The experimental results indicate that the approach is efficient and effective for performing cell formations in this particular material handling environment. The cell formations, which are developed by the criteria of minimizing the number of intercell movements and minimizing the actual intercell flow cost, are also compared.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes