Integrative Cell Formation and Layout Design in Cellular Manufacturing Systems

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

2 Department of Industrial Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


This paper proposes a new integrative view of manufacturing cell formation and both inter-cell and intra-cell layout problems. Cells formation and their popular bi-directional linear layout are determined simultaneously through a Dynamic Programming algorithm (with the objective of minimizing the inter-cell flow cost under a cell size constraint). This Dynamic Programming algorithm is implemented in a Simulated Annealing approach with Genetic operators to reach near optimal solutions. Moreover, within this approach and by using an Ant Colony Optimization technique, we also solve the intra-cell layout problem, i.e., we also determine how to lay out machines within relative cells. In contrast with most of the available approaches in the literature, we consider: (1) An integrated objective function to minimize overall inter-cell and intra-cell flow costs instead of merely minimizing the number of inter-cell movements/costs. (2) The integrative and simultaneous determination of cell formation and their layout instead of using sequential approaches. (3) All three phases of cell formation, intercell and intra-cell layout design problems, which are all important for overall performance of the system, and (4) An easy to code and solve integrated procedure through implementing metaheuristic approaches. Our computational results show that by incorporating intra-cell decisions in cell formation and inter-cell design process through implementing our proposed integrated approach, a manufacturer can largely reduce her total material flow cost. Particularly, our computational tests show good quality solutions in comparison with the most similar available approach in the literature with an average improvement of 24.97% in total flow cost for a set of randomly generated test problems.


Main Subjects

[1] Akturk M.S., Turkcan A. (2000), Cellular manufacturing system design using a holonistic approach;
International Journal of Production Research 38(10); 2327-2347.
[2] Albadawi Z., Bashir H.A., Chen M. (2005), A mathematical approach for the formation of
manufacturing cells; Computers & Industrial Engineering 48; 3-21.
[3] Alfa A.S., Chen M., Heragu S.S. (1992), Integrating the grouping and layout problems in cellular
manufacturing systems; Computers & Industrial Engineering 23; 55-58.
[4] Arvindh B., Irani S.A. (1994), Cell formation: the need for an integrated solution of the sub problems.
International Journal of Production Research 32; 1197-1218.
[5] Askin R.G., Standridge C.R. (1994), Modeling and analyzing manufacturing systems; Wiley, New
[6] Askin R., Subramanian S. (1987), A cost-based heuristic for group technology configuration;
International Journal of Production Research 25(1); 101–113.
[7] Bazargan-Lari M., Kaebernick H., Harraf A. (2000), Cell formation and layout design in a cellular
manufacturing environment-a case study; International Journal of Production Research 38(7); 1689-
[8] Burbidge J.L. (1975), The Introduction of Group Technology; Wiley, New York.
[9] Chen W-H, Srivastava B. (1994), Simulated annealing procedures for forming machine cells in group
technology; European Journal of Operational Research 75; 100–11.
[10] Chiang C.-P., Lee S.-D. (2004), Joint determination of machine cells and linear intercell layout;
Computer and Operations Research 31(10); 1603-1619.
[11] Colorni A., Dorigo M., Maniezzo V., Trubian M. (1994), Ant system for job-shop scheduling.
JORBEL; Belgian Journal of Operations Research Statistics and Computer Science 34 (1); 39–53.
[12] Dorigo M., Gambardella L.M. (1997), Ant colony system: a cooperative learning approach to the
traveling salesman problem; IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation (1); 53–66.
[13] Gambardella L.M., Taillard E.D., Dorigo M. (1999), Ant colonies for the QAP; Journal of Operational
Research Society 50; 167–176.
[14] Garey M.R., Johnson D.S. (1979), Computers and intractability: a guide to the theory of NPcompleteness;
San Francisco, Freeman.
[15] Ham I., Hitomi K., Yoshida T. (1985), Layout planning for group technology in group technology;
Applications to Production Managements; 153-169.
[16] Harhalakis G., Nagi R., Proth J. (1990), An efficient heuristic in manufacturing cell formation of group
technology application; International Journal of Production Research 28; 185-198.
[17] Irani S.A., Cavalier T.M., Cohen P.H. (1993), Virtual manufacturing cells: exploiting layout design
and intercell flows for the machine sharing problem; International Journal of Production Research 31;
[18] Irani S. A. (1999), Handbook of Cellular Manufacturing Systems; Wiley, New York.

[19] Bazargan-Lari M., Kaebernick H. (1996), Intra-cell and inter-cell layout designs for cellular
manufacturing; International Journal of Industrial Engineering-Applications and Practice 3; 139-150.
[20] Kirkpatrick S., Gellat C.D, Vecchi M.P (1983), Optimization by simulated annealing; Science 220;
[21] Laarhoven V.P.J.M., Aarts E.H.L (1988), Simulated Annealing: Theory and Applications; Kluwer,
[22] Lee S-D, Chen Y-L. (1997), A weighted approach for cellular manufacturing design: minimizing
intercell movement and balancing workload among duplicated machines; International Journal of
Production Research 35; 1125–46.
[23] Lee S.-D., Chiang C.-P. (2001), A cut-tree-based approach for clustering approach for clustering
machine cells in the bi-directional linear flow layout; International Journal of Production Research
39; 3491-3512.
[24] Lee S.-D., Chiang C.-P. (2002), Cell formation in the uni-directional loop material handling
environment; European Journal of Operational Research 137; 401-420.
[25] Maniezzo V. (1999), Exact and approximate nondeterministic tree-search procedures for the quadratic
assignment problem; INFORMS Journal on Computing 11; 358–369.
[26] Maniezzo V., Colorni A. (1999), The ant system applied to the quadratic assignment problem; IEEE
Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering 11(5); 769–778.
[27] Metropolis N., Rosenbluth A., Rosenbluth M., Teller A., Teller E. (1953), Equation of state
calculations by fast computing machines; Journal of Chemical Physics 21; 1087-1092.
[28] Mitrofanov S.P. (1966), The scientific principles of group technology; National Lending Library of
Science and Technology, Boston Spa, Yorkshire; England.
[29] Olorunniwo F. (1996), Changes in production planning and control systems with implementation of
cellular manufacturing; Production and Inventory Management, First Quarter; 65-69.
[30] Salum L. (2000), The cellular manufacturing layout problem; International Journal of Production
Research 38(5); 1053-1069.
[31] Shunk D.L. (1987), Computer integrated manufacturing in Manufacturing High Technology Handook;
New York; 83-100.
[32] Solimanpur M., Vrat P., Shankar R. (2004), Ant colony optimization algorithm to the inter-cell layout
problem in cellular manufacturing; European Journal of Operational Research 157(3); 592-606.
[33] Vakharia A.J. (1986), Methods of cell formation in group technology: A frame work for evaluation;
Journal of Operations Management 6(3); 257-272.
[34] Vakharia A.J., Wemmerlov U. (1990), Designing a cellular manufacturing system: A material flow
approach based on operation sequence; IIE Transactions 22; 84-97.
[35] Verma P., Ding F.Y. (1995), A sequence-based materials flow procedure for designing materials flow
procedure for designing manufacturing cells; International Journal of Production Research 33; 3267-

[36] Wang T.Y., Lin H.C., Wu K.B. (1998), An improved simulated annealing for facility layout problems
in cellular manufacturing systems; Computers & Industrial Engineering 34; 309-319.
[37] Wemmerlov U., Hyer N.L. (1987), Research issues in cellular manufacturing; International Journal of
Production Research 25(3); 413-431.
[38] Wemmerlov U., Hyer N.L. (1989), Cellular manufacturing in the U.S. industries: A survey of users;
International Journal of Production Research 27(9); 1511-1530.
[39] Wemmerlov U., Hyer N.L. (2002), “Reorganizing The Factory” competing through cellular
manufacturing; Productivity Press.
[40] Wemmerlov U., Johnson D.J. (1997), Cellular manufacturing at 46 user plants: Implementation
experiences and performance improvements; International Journal of Production Research 35; 29–49.