Manual layout planning is extremely time-consuming and yet cannot be replaced. Although it is already possible to generate factory layouts on the computer, optimum results are not yet possible here.
"With previous methods, factory layouts can only be optimised very one-sidedly," says Paul Aurich, project engineer at the Institute for Integrated Production Hanover (IPH) gGmbH. In most cases, only the transport intensity is optimised, so that the factory areas are arranged in such a way that the distances are as short as possible. In doing so, other aspects are not taken into account.
"This can lead to the meeting room being within earshot of a noisy milling machine or the manual assembly being placed in the darkest corner of the factory," according to Aurich.
With the MeFaP research project, IPH now intends to develop a holistic method for automated layout planning. Over the next two years, i.e. until the end of 2019, the researchers intend to develop software that for the first time incorporates several aspects into layout planning.
As a result, practical factory layouts can be created. Compared to manual planning, this would save a lot of time - with similarly good or even better results.