A semi automated flexible manufacturing cell is used to produce three products. The products are made by two automated processing stations followed by an assembly station. There is also a load/unload station. Material handling between stations in the FMC is accomplished by mechanized carts that move tote bins containing the particular components to be processed and then assembled into a given product. The carts transfer tote bins between stations. In this way the carts are kept busy while the tote bins are queued in front of the workstations. Each tote bin remains with the product throughout processing and assembly. The details of the FMC can be summarized as follows:
The product mix fractions and station processing times for the parts are presented in the table below. The same station sequence is followed by all products: 1 ( 2 ( 3 ( 4 ( 1.
The average cart transfer time between stations is 4 minutes.
(a) What is the bottleneck station in the FMC, assuming that the material handling system is not the bottleneck?
(b) At full capacity, what is the overall production rate of the system and the rate for each product?
(c) What is the minimum number of carts in the material handling system required to keep up with the production workstations?
(d) Compute the overall utilization of the FMC.
(e) What recommendations would you make to improve the efficiency and/or reduce the cost of operating the FMC?