Once the workshop location is determined, it's time to begin planning how to lay it out. First, acknowledge the need to formulate a plan that's realistic in terms of the space allotted. The size of the structure or workspace will place some constraints on how much can be done. Taking into account size limitations, begin fashioning a plan that keeps efficiency in mind.
The layout of a workshop will be based, in part, on how it will be used — whether for carpentry, fine woodworking, metalwork or other activities. Regardless of category, however, it's important to keep in mind the principles of efficiency and organization. A layout that's clearly thought out in terms of functionality will make all the difference in creating a workspace that offers a pleasant surrounding as well as a space that's conducive to work.
The problems related to plant layout are generally observed because of the various developments that occur. These developments generally include adoption of the new standards of safety, changes in the design of the product, decision to set up a new plant, introducing a new product, withdrawing the various obsolete facilities etc.
Objectives of a good plant layout are –
1. Providing comfort to the workers and catering to worker’s taste and liking.
2. Giving good and improved working conditions.
3. Minimizing delays in production and making efficient use of the space that is available.
4. Having better control over the production cycle by having greater flexibility for changes in the design of the product.
Principles of a good plant layout are –
1. A good plant layout is the one which is able to integrate its workmen, materials, machines in the best possible way.
2. A good plant layout is the one which sees very little or minimum possible movement of the materials during the operations.
3. A good layout is the one that is able to make effective and proper use of the space that is available for use.
4. A good layout is the one which involves unidirectional flow of the materials during operations without involving any back tracking.
5. A good plant layout is the one which ensures proper security with maximum flexibility.
6. Maximum visibility, minimum handling and maximum accessibility, all form other important features of a good plant layout.
Types of layouts –
1. Process layout – These layouts are also called the functional layouts and are very suitable in the conditions, when the products being prepared are non – standard or involve wide variations in times of processing of the individual operations.
Such layouts are able to make better utilization of the equipment that is available, with greater flexibility in allocation of work to the equipment and also to the workers. Imbalance caused in one section is not allowed to affect the working of the other sections.
2. Product layout – These layouts are also known as the line layouts or the layout by sequence. In such layouts, the manufacturing cycle is small with minimum material handling. The space required is small and quality control is easy to exercise.
3. Project layout – Such layouts are also referred to as the fixed position layouts. In these layouts, the components, heavy materials, sub assemblies – all remain fixed at one place and the job is completed by movement of machines, men and tools to the location of the operations.
For most workshop applications, efficient workspace design follows a triangle, with the most important workstations at the three corners of the triangle.
A shop geared toward woodworking would have lumber storage located at one corner of the triangle. Storage space for wood — both long pieces and flat plywood pieces — should be adequate. Raised storage, such as racks or shelves mounted on the wall, must be sturdy. Wood storage should also be in close proximity to the stationary tools or machines (table saw, jointer, power planer, etc.) to avoid frequently carrying heavy wood across the span of the workspace. Wood storage should be handy and near the area where the heavy woodworking tasks will take place. Keep in mind that a considerable amount of space will be needed around stationary tools such as a table saws and jointers for manipulating large pieces of raw lumber.
The second corner of the triangle is in the center of the room and, in our case, is where the workbench is located. Following work progress in sequence, the workbench is typically the second workstation where medium-duty work is done after heavier preparatory or wood-milling steps are finished. The workbench is where work is typically done using hand tools or smaller power tools such as hand drills, routers and joinery tools.
The third corner of the triangle is the finishing station, where fine and detailed work takes place. At this station, tasks such as sanding, wood finishing and painting may take place. Since the detailed work is likely to be done here, it may be critical to keep this station more organized, clean and free of dust than the others.
General tool storage can be in an area adjacent to the triangle so that individual tools are in easy reach for any project. Efficient design helps eliminate wasted time searching for necessary tools, and wasted steps carrying items back and forth — both of which can add up quickly.
Technical Writer | Dihlakanyane Books
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