(a.k.a. U-Shaped Cells, Work Cells) Generally a horseshoe or U-Shaped work area layout that enables workers to easily move from one process to another in close proximity and pass parts between workers with little effort. “Cells” typically focus on the production of specific models in “part families” but can be adjusted to many different products as needed.
Comments: Work Cells do not need to be in a U-shaped configuration though this is often common due to maximizing product throughput with minimal use of space. We have created Work Cells in many different configurations that resemble letters like T, W, X, V, etc., it is also common to create polygons, circles, rectangles, etc.
The ultimate layout of the cell is determined by the needs of the product. The goal in laying out a new Work Cell is to pass a part through every needed process with the minimal amount of wasted motion and distance. On the next level the layout of the Work Cell is determined by the manual and machine cycle times and “Takt Time” in order to determine Cell staffing.
Other issues when creating cells include redundancy of equipment, size of equipment needed, cure times, and Cell mobility/flexibility to accommodate multiple products.
When Work Cells are laid out most efficiently they can usually produce parts with a staff of 1 person moving from station to station (Load-Load) or fully staffed with a worker at each station. Product demand helps determine staffing.
Example: (Note: Many other configurations can work as well.)