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Welcome to Group Technology (GT)

GTAt its most simple level Group Technology (GT) enables large batches (families) made up of similar components to be formed from small batches of identicial components, these families can then be processed in a mass-production system. The GT concept is based on the theory that similar things should be done similarly. One of the philosophies in GT entails dividing the manufacturing facility into small groups of machines called cells. Each cell is dedicated to manufacturing a family of parts (cellular manufacturing is term related to this concept of manufacturing). A manufacturing cell consists of one or more Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines (or machining centres), an automated handling system, and a part and tool storage facility.

GT gives the advantages of flow-line systems in environments ruled by job shop procedures. New parts are introduced into the cell only if they are compatible with the process and tooling of the existing part family. In some cases new parts designs are modified for compatibility with the part family. Thus, it could be said that GT helps in standardizing products and process plans, as a new part can be made by retrieving the design of a similar part and modifying it. This leads to lower product development lead times.

There are three different types of layout in a GT environment:

  • GT flow line
  • GT cell; and
  • GT centre

Steps in GT

There are three steps in implementing GT:

  1. coding;
  2. classification: and
  3. layout

Coding involves the assignment of a numerical (and/or alphanumeric) description to parts, based on their design and manufacturing attributes. Thus, round parts will be differently coded from non-round parts. Similary, attributes like gear teeth, threading, and so on, will be reflected in the code. Parts are then assigned to part families based on their codes. Part families are assigned to groups, along with the machines on which they need processing. Layout involves the assignment of the physical facilities to spaces on the shop floor. Layout could be configured as a flow line, as a cell or as a centre.

 
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