What is factory plant layout and design?

Factory Plant Layout & Design is fundamentally about exploring what you need in your factory, what you have already, and ultimately providing sensible, efficient schemes which can enable your plans.  Prime Design has the expertise and processes to help you on your journey. We have provided facility designs in many manufacturing industries, including: dairy, soft drinks, liquid food, infant formula, aeronautics and high-end automotive, so are able to bring cross-industry solutions to all projects

Call our team today or request a call back

+44 (0)1784 668188

Factory Plant Layout & Design

What do you need?

"We need to ensure our new factory is designed with the correct (shape and size) production space."

It’s important that the production spaces dictate the building design (not the other way round).

"We need to plan for a new packaging line."

Our team can help with the design and integration of additional lines.

"Having evolved over time, our existing production line layout has become congested and inefficient."

A common problem. We can help you with a layout change strategy for current and future demands.

"Space is at a premium but we still need additional production capacity."

A creative approach is always important but space limitations are a challenge we are used to working with.

Associated Frequently Asked Questions

Will my production line layout impact efficiency?

Almost certainly the answer is yes. Production line layout is one of the key considerations in line efficiency. Appropriate space for production to flow, as well as people and materials, is critically important. Perhaps surprisingly, poor line layout also has an impact on staff engagement. Line layout is also a major consideration for your line control system to be effective.

Firstly, figure out what you need to do in the area, both now and in the foreseeable future. What processes and equipment are needed to facilitate this, also allowing for appropriate strategic buffers? Secondly, assess what space is available – is this adequate? Is extension or repurposing an option?

Consider people and material flows - does this work?
In parallel to the above consider schedule, cost and risk.
Often, we are asked to carry out a feasibility study to prepare layout scenarios: we would then undertake this work for you (and of course with you!). This allows you to understand what options are available and the impacts. We can also prepare computer simulations to give predicted efficiencies from the various scenarios, so further reducing risk.

This is often a key question, “how can we shut the line down long enough to make improvements?”. There are several options to approach this depending on individual circumstances:

  1. Work additional hours
  2. Campaign work into planned downtime
  3. Phase improvements, targeting key losses and quick wins to allow you to increase capacity and ease the strain.
  4. Prepare parallel production facilities
  5. Stock- build to allow lines to be taken out
  6. Contract pack

In our experience, if you are running out of space then you should begin with a critical assessment of what is in your factory. Is it still relevant? Is it appropriately sized and located? Next, we would advocate a 5S activity to help make the necessary resources lean (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardise, Sustain). If space is at a premium, can you afford to hang onto stuff that isn’t critical?!

These steps are relatively simple to do.
Once these steps are completed, we suggest a review of the line layout: is this properly thought out or has it evolved organically over time (often the case!). If this review is done using the plan of what you need to do in the area (both now and in the foreseeable future) then layouts can be sympathetic to one another and be set up efficiently in terms of space and resources.

One of the key aspects in Lean theory is minimising waste. Waste is defined as ‘something that creates no value that the customer is unwilling to pay for’. Waste takes on many forms and in common Lean theory these are often referred to as the 7 wastes (Transport, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Over-processing, Overproduction, Defects).  To begin with, we suggest undertaking a benchmarking exercise of your whole organisation to establish where you are versus the industry standard. This will help to help identify key areas of focus. If you don’t have these specialist skills in house then we would suggest engaging a Lean transformation practitioner. The manufacturing process itself is often inherently wasteful. If you consider the 7 wastes listed earlier, a properly designed production line layout and line control system are fundamental to minimising waste. An efficient line design will organise layouts to:

  1. Be sympathetic to production formats and changeovers
  2. Minimise unnecessary movement of production, people, and materials
  3. Share resources between tasks to optimise headcount
  4. Provide good process visibility
  5. Include only essential buffers to reduce line stoppages and waste
  6. Intelligently adjust equipment speeds to maximise throughput without damaging components
  7. Maximise line efficiency

Further Information

Factory Plant Layout and Design (Design, Validate, Visualise...)

A view from a recent full line design we completed for a customer in China.

What is it all about?

This is one of the creative aspects of what we do and where it all began for Prime Design in 1992.

Factory Plant Layout and Design is fundamentally about exploring what you need in your factory, what you have already… and ultimately providing sensible, efficient schemes which can enable your plans. This is normally an iterative process involving:

  • stakeholder interviews
  • surveying and/or architect consultation
  • process and packaging design
  • staff and component movement analysis
  • review of other associated space requirements
  • line layout development
  • line computer simulation and budget preparation

Too often, we hear of clients who are not satisfied with the project they have implemented and frequently this is due to a lack of attention to detail at the planning stage. Prime Design has the expertise and processes to help you on this journey.

Prime Design has provided facility designs in many manufacturing industries, including: dairy, soft drinks, liquid food, infant formula, aeronautics and high-end automotive so are able to bring cross-industry solutions to all projects.

Our design team utilise the latest technologies to help with efficient scheme design:

  1. DESIGN - 3D scanning to accurately survey your buildings and equipment and to validate existing layout information. Existing CAD drawings are often inaccurate which can cause big issues if not identified early. This technology also greatly simplifies communication to aid the physical design development process. It is much faster and cheaper to survey your facility with a 3D laser scanner and you avoid return visits for detail you may have missed traditionally.

  2. VALIDATE – We undertake computer simulation (Simul8®) to assess the efficiency of a line design. We take into account: individual equipment efficiencies, MTBF/MTTR, equipment speeds, line accumulation, component replenishment, number of staff to calculate expected line efficiencies. This allows us to refine line designs to give the best output.

    It is much easier and safer to check how a line will run at this stage rather than when the project ramp-up begins! We strive to get the correct design up front. After all, as a fare-paying passenger you wouldn’t expect to be taking an aircraft’s maiden flight with the test pilot sitting at the front!

  3. VISUALISE - 3D modelling to help fully evaluate the fit, look and operability of the new designs. We provide 3D ‘walk-throughs’ of the new line to get a thorough understanding of the design to allow you to communicate and gather stakeholder support early in the process (We produce 2D designs as standard).

Related Survey and Drawing Services

As well as manufacturing plant layout and design, Prime Design routinely create and update client’s site drawings, including: full site buildings, site utilities drainage and fire systems.

We recognise how easy it is for site drawings to become outdated. Some of our customers engage us on a contract basis to keep their site drawings up to date. As part of this service we liaise with any new projects to make sure the latest information is provided and that site drawings are updated as projects are completed. This ‘peace of mind’ service is valued by many of our busy customers.

There is also a [legal] requirement for factory documentation to include up-to-date drawings of utility services and key facilities. Fire safety regulations, health and safety regulations (incl. permit-to-work), and environmental management/regulations for example will require a range of drawings including details/locations for service isolation points (steam, compressed air, water etc.), assembly points, evacuation routes, drainage and water treatment.