Design of a web-based integrated material handling system for manufacturing applications

Cho, Chiwoon
Major Professor
Pius J. Egbelu
Patrick Patterson
Committee Member
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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

In this research, a Web-based system called DESIGNER for the design of integrated material handling systems is developed. DESIGNER models the material handling system design processes including the material handling equipment (MHE) selection and employs information on the most common MHE types used in material movement, storage, and positioning.;The system designs the material handling system for an application through three phases. In Phase I, the procedure identifies the most appropriate MHE type among the alternatives that are suitable for the application. Knowledge-based rules are employed to identify alternative handling equipment for each material flow link. To select the final suitable MHE type for each material flow link, not only does the system consider the economic aspect of the equipment but also their applicability, adaptability and integratability, maintenance and safety, and other factors that a user may deem worthy of consideration. To compare the aggregate effect of the multiple design attributes considered for the alternatives, fuzzy evaluation matrices and normalized evaluation values are employed. To reduce the overall system cost, in Phase II, the system checks for excess capacity for each type of equipment recommended. It also checks if operating systems for automatic equipment suggested can be combined to reduce the total number of the operating systems. Any excess capacity identified is eliminated whenever it is considered possible without introducing design infeasibility. Excess capacity is eliminated by assigning a unit of each equipment to multiple flow links and thereby reducing the total number of units of the equipment that is recommended. This reduction in equipment capacity does not apply to conveyors and storage devices because of their immobile feature. The reduction process is applicable to mobile equipment that enjoy flexible routing. In Phase III, the set of material handling equipment selected is adjusted to satisfy budget constraints if the total cost of the initial set of the selected equipment exceeds the budget.;After identifying the most appropriate MHE, the modules for economic analysis, performance measure analysis, AS/RS design analysis, and system integration analysis for automatic MHE are invoked. The results of the analyses provide system users with useful data for the material handling system design and decision on investment in MHE. An example application is given to demonstrate the use of DESIGNER.