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Plant layout

  • Outline of Contents:
  • What is Plant layout?
  • Necessity of good layout
  • Factors affecting good layout
  • Principles of good layout
  • Advantages of good layout
  • Symptoms of poor layout
  • Types of layout


Plant layout refers to the arrangement of physical facilities such as machines, equipment, tools, furniture etc. in such a manner so as to have quickest flow of material at the lowest cost and with the least amount of handling in processing the product from the receipt of raw material to the delivery of the final product.

Plant Layout is a plan of an optimum arrangement of facilities including personnel, operating equipment, storage space, material handling equipments and all other supporting services along with the design of best structure to contain all these facilities. A good layout is one which allows material rapidly and directly for processing. This reduces transport handling, clerical and other costs down per unit. Space requirement are minimized and it reduces idle machine time and idle time of man.

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Necessity of good plant layout

  • Minimization of material handling
  • Optimum utilization of available floor space
  • Elimination of bottlenecks through balancing of all capacities
  • Minimization o production delays
  • Easy supervision and better manpower resources through elimination of idle time
  • Elimination of physical efforts required by workers
  • Elimination or improvement of objectionable operations. E.g. Operations with bad odor, vibrating operations etc.

Avoiding industrial accidents

Better working conditions like light, ventilation, noise control etc. Optimum utilization of machinery and equipment through proper use.

Minimization of cost so that product will be available at cheaper rate to customer and delivery in time.

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Factors affecting facility Layout

  • Nature of plant-Engineering/Process Industry
  • Type of Production-Mass/Flow, Batch, Job Shop
  • Type of Production-Make to Stock/order, std/spec
  • Plant Location-Area available, building type-storey
  • Volume of Production-Scale of production
  • Types of machines and equipment-automation
  • Repairs and maintenance -Policy, schedule on site
  • Arrangement of material handling equipment
  • Future expansion plan
  • Principles of good Layout
  • Minimum Handling
  • Interdependence
  • Minimum investment
  • Integration of factors-3M
  • Minimum movement-Distance/Flow
  • Continuous flow-forward
  • Optimum utilization of available space
  • Maximum visibility
  • Maximum accessibility
  • Maximum Flexibility
  • Safety, Security and Satisfaction


  • Advantages of Good Plant Layout
  • Proper and efficient utilization of available floor space
  • Transportation of work from one point to another point without any delay Proper utilization of production capacity.
  • Reduce material handling costs
  • Utilize labor efficiently
  • Reduce accidents
  • Provide for volume and product flexibility
  • Provide ease of supervision and control
  • Provide for employee safety and health
  • Allow easy maintenance of machines and plant.
  • Improve productivity


  • Symptoms of Poor Layout
  • Delays and work stoppage in manufacturing process
  • Slow movement of material through the plant
  • Congestion of materials, components and work in progress
  • Poor utilization of space
  • High material handling and transportation costs
  • Excessive handling by skilled workers
  • Production cycles and delays in delivery
  • Mental or physical strain on operators
  • Difficulties in maintain effective supervision and control
  • Underutilization of machines and workers
  • Lack of flexibility and difficulty in production planning and control

Types Of Layout:

There are mainly four types of plant layout:

  • (a) Product or line layout
  • (b) Process or functional layout
  • (c) Fixed position or location layout
  • (d) Combined or group layout

Product or line layout:

In this type of layout the machines and equipments are arranged in one line depending upon the sequence of operations required for the product. It is also called as line layout. The material moves to another machine sequentially without any backtracking or deviation i.e. the output of one machine becomes input of the next machine. It requires a very little material handling. It is used for mass production of standardized products.

Advantages of Product layout:

  • Low cost of material handling, due to straight and short route and absence of
  • backtracking Smooth and continuous operations
  • Continuous flow of work
  • Lesser inventory and work in progress
  • Optimum use of floor space
  • Simple and effective inspection of work and simplified production control

Lower manufacturing cost per uni

Disadvantages of Product layout:

  • Higher initial capital investment in special purpose machine (SPM) High overhead charges
  • Breakdown of one machine will disturb the production process.

Lesser flexibility of physical resources.

Process layout:

In this type of layout the machines of a similar type are arranged together at one place. This type of layout is used for batch production. It is preferred when the product is not standardized and the quantity produced is very small.

  • Advantages of Process layout
  • Lower initial capital investment is required.
  • There is high degree of machine utilization, as a machine is not blocked for a single product
  • The overhead costs are relatively low
  • Breakdown of one machine does not disturb the production process. Supervision can be more effective and specialized.
  • Greater flexibility of resources.
  • Disadvantages of Process layout:
  • Material handling costs are high due to backtracking

More skilled labour is required resulting in higher cost.
Work in progress inventory is high needing greater storage space More frequent inspection is needed which results in costly supervision Combined layout:

A combination of process & product layout is known as combined layout. Manufacturing concerns where several products are produced in repeated numbers with no likelihood of continuous production, combined layout is

Fixed position or location layout:

Fixed position layout involves the movement of manpower and machines to the product which remains stationary. The movement of men and machines is advisable as the cost of moving them would be lesser. This type of layout is preferred where the size of the job is bulky and heavy. Example of such type of layout is locomotives, ships, boilers, generators, wagon building, aircraft manufacturing, etc.

Advantages of Fixed position layout:

The investment on layout is very small. The layout is flexible as change in job design and operation sequence can be easily incorporated. Adjustments can be made to meet shortage of materials or absence of workers by changing the sequence of operations.

Disadvantages of Fixed position layout:

As the production period being very long so the capital investment is very high. Very large space is required for storage of material and equipment near the product. As several operations are often carried out simultaneously so there is possibility of confusion and conflicts among different workgroups.

Cite this page

Plant layout. (2016, Mar 09). Retrieved from

Plant layout

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