U-shaped assembly lines (U-SALs) are cellular manufacturing systems that, among other things, provide a remarkable feature for industrial cost efficiency: their effectiveness in space utilization. While the challenge of machine placement for labour productivity optimization is widely studied in the literature, surface productivity optimization has been scarcely explored. This paper proposes an industry-validated geometrical model for optimizing U-SAL surface productivity. The model links the drivers for market, product and process with the geometrical design. Managers and lean practitioners can use this approach to make decisions for layout design. The model is particularly useful in cases where the cost of floor space is substantially high.
- U-shaped line