This paper describes a Web-based system called DESIGNER for the design of integrated material handling systems in a manufacturing environment. DESIGNER models and automates the material handling system design process, including the selection of material handling equipment. For a given application, the system designs the material handling system through three phases. In phase I, the procedure finds the most appropriate material handling equipment type among the alternatives for each material flow link. Knowledge-based rules are employed to retrieve the alternatives for each material flow link. To consider and compare the alternatives, multiple design factors are considered. These factors include both quantitative and qualitative measures. The qualitative measures are converted to numerical measures using fuzzy logic. The concept of fuzzy logic is applied to the knowledge-based rules as sensitivity indices and to evaluation matrices used for the selection of the most suitable material handling equipment through a fuzzy linguistic approach. In phase II, the set of selected equipment for the flow links is checked against redundancy and excess capacity with the objective of minimizing total system cost and improving equipment utilization. In phase III, the set of material handling equipment selected is subjected to economic analysis and, when necessary, adjusted to satisfy budget constraints to ensure feasibility. Because the system developed is Web-based, it is widely accessible to users worldwide. The ease of accessibility will enhance its use by multiple users in the design of real life material handling scenarios.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Strategy and Management
- Management Science and Operations Research
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
- Fuzzy logic
- Material handling