Basics of the layout of garment factories and sewing machines

A good factory layout is directly associated with a good workflow, from the receipt of materials to the exit of finished products from the factory. Whatever type of factory layout a company develops, it should be designed to optimize quality, throughput time and flexibility.

Experts have different views on how and what constitutes a good layout. It’s never easy to evaluate one layout over the other when both get the desired results. But sometimes small changes work wonders.

Suresh Durejain this article, outlines the basic considerations when conceptualizing and designing a factory layout.

The plant layout is the spatial arrangement and configuration of departments, workstations, machinery and equipment used in the conversion process. The layout of a garment production plant directs the flow of materials and work in progress from start to finish and integrates material handling and equipment.

An effective layout has the flexibility to be modified to meet the requirements of product line, delivery schedules and expected volume. Safety is a major consideration in plant layout. Fire and safety codes, emergency and accessible exits, open traffic areas, etc. should all be part of the management plans.

The following factors should be considered when planning a layout:

• Minimization of manufacturing costs,

• Feed materials and parts at the highest possible speed and in one direction without any backtracking or product flow overlap,

• Minimization of the transfer of labor between processes from acceptance of raw materials to delivery of finished product with properly defined spaces for each process, and

• Provision of future expansion plans.

Layout planning should be carried out according to the selection of the factory site and the layout of the building and machinery.

Factory layout

The plant layout is decided based on the process sequence, building structure, workshop transportation, type of layout (product or process based or a combination of both) and the layout of machinery. The goal of each layout is to maximize the use of available space in order to expedite the flow of materials. Highly specialized machines and assembly of small parts can be configured with a line layout for final assembly.

Factors to consider in designing an effective layout include number of male and female workers, number of machines (size, weight per model), entry, exit and passageways (size, width, position, number of each) for production as well as an administrative wing, locker room, dining room, restrooms, medical emergency room, and provisions for those governed by local laws. Utilities like boiler, air compressor, vacuum pumps, generator, electrical panel, air conditioning machine, underground water storage tanks for boiler and washing machines, water softener Water, wastewater recycling plant, drainage system are also equally important.

General steps to create a factory layout

Make a scale drawing of the factory/workshop

Make models of machines/equipment

Draw real estate facilities/equipment
• Entrances, exits/stairs
• Toilets, corridors
• Pillars, partitions
• Air conditioning ducts, steam, air and vacuum lines
• Power sockets, power lines for powering machines,
electrical panels

Arrange the main flow process in a straight line, regardless
of available space

Organize the main flow process in the available space

If it is necessary to change the direction of the main flow process, change it to the worker who is in charge of an iron or a special-purpose machine

Arrange the additional divisions in the remaining space

Make a final drawing based on the finished machine layout

Other factors that need attention before laying out the plant plan include ceiling height (3-3.5 meters from the floor), lighting (large 2 or 3 story windows) and floor levels. illumination (600 Lux for production and 800 Lux for inspection areas) in addition to ventilation . In addition, the workplace must have a sufficient number of men’s and women’s toilets and drinking water points nearby.

Factors Influencing Machine Configuration

“The layout of the machine is the arrangement of the available space according to the conditions required by the design of the production system and depends on various factors.” – Suresh Dureja, Manufacturing Manager, Canada Goose, Toronto, Canada

1. Types of products to be manufactured

The number of different types of product items, working hours, batch sizes, variation in clothing design, degree of fluctuation within a year, etc.

2. Manufacturing system

According to the seam system followed, such as work through, PBU assembly line, sectional assembly line, upswing with overhead hanger, teamwork with standing work (TSS).

3. Style change method

Overall change or consequential change.

(a) Overall change

All products/styles produced are entirely different from each other and require major changes in the sequence of operation and machine layout with the requirement of special purpose machines e.g. shirts, pants, jackets , women’s dresses, etc.

(b) Consequential Change

Manufactured products/styles have only slight style variations. That is, most of the operations are similar and do not require major changes in machinery/operation layout, each time a new style is introduced, for example in formal shirts, casual shirts, etc

4. Material transfer system

By package system or by part system.

(a) Grouped system

The pieces of the garment are grouped into packs of 5, 10 and 15 pieces depending on the type of garment to be made. Packages are moved from one operation to another. Package size is important in selecting an appropriate handling method. Packages can be in tied form, in plastic bags, in boxes and baskets, in package trucks, in clamps, on rails, etc.

(b) UPS overhead suspension system

The one-piece garment portions clip into overhead suspension rails, where rail movement can be manual (switchtrack/UHS) or motorized (ETON).

(c) Per piece

This means that garment pieces are transferred piece by piece from one operation to another, for example in Toyota Sewing System, etc.

5. Buffers

Number of cut components and semi-finished garments retained as WIP between operations.

6. Method of storage of semi-finished products

Distribution of cut parts and temporary storage of semi-finished products in assembly tables, racks, shelves, bags, etc.

7. Equipment

Special-purpose machine, general-purpose machine, semi-automatic and automatic workstations (where the machine/operator ratio is greater than one).

8. Transfer equipment

(a) Manual Humping

Packages are picked up and transported by operators to and from the workplace and storage area. Little capital is required for this method which is flexible. But its effectiveness is limited by the maximum load that can be carried remotely.

(b) Media

Packages on racks are used between groups of operations. These facilitate visual balance, reduce space requirements and improve the appearance of the workshop. Lot sizes are limited by the size of the rack and the box or basket in which they are kept. Garments are transported to and from the racks by hand.

(c) Trolleys or Carts

These allow the use of larger, bulkier or heavier packages or groups of packages than can be moved by lifting or carrying, for example in shirt, jacket and jeans factories.

(d) Unpowered Conveyors

Chutes, roller conveyors, and rails are all inexpensive and convenient ways to store or move work. They allow the use of much heavier packages than would be possible with manual humping. Chutes should be set at a steeper angle. Gravity only powers one-way systems.

(e) Motorized conveyors

Belts and rails belong to this type. Suitable for automatic routing, the rails are installed at head height and allow long garments to be hung so that they do not wrinkle during transport.

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