Seminar Series

Optimising Manufacturing Industrial Production Layout for Occupational Health and Safety- Plant Systems Engineering for Productivity, Occupational Health and Safety


Sean Ji, PhD-cand


Department of Mechanical Engineering, UC

Time & Place

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 09:00:00 NZDT in E14


BACKGROUND- Plant systems are important systems of engineering in their own right. A plant system is not simply an aggregation of pieces of equipment, but an integrated system. The characteristics of the system are determined by the capabilities of the individual machines, layout, control, and operating procedures. These attributes determine the productivity, quality, and waste produced by the system. Hence manufacturing is critically dependent on the plant systems. Plant systems are now not only concerned with the productivity, but occupational health and safety as well.

PROBLEM- The difficulty with plant system is in the integration of the various sub-components, which include hardware, operators, procedures, and health & safety issues. Integrating the occupational health considerations into other plant considerations has not been achieved: these factors tend to be treated piecemeal as independent compartments.

PURPOSE- There is a need to develop better methods to design manufacturing systems and optimise health and safety in an integrated manner alongside existing priorities such as productivity.

APPROACH- The research intends to integrate system-engineering methods with plant simulation tools, to develop a methodology to optimise across the multiple parameters of health & safety (including occupational health), minimisation of waste time (lean), and productivity. The methodology will then be applied to two industrial case situations for testing and validation.

COMPLEXITY- The complexity arises because the multiple dimensions of value are difficult to integrate into common measures. Also, the parameters mutually affect each other. There is limited understanding in occupational health and safety in current methods for plant productivity optimization. Also, metrics for safety and especially occupational health are difficult to integrate with the quantitative data used in plant simulation.

VALUE- This is worth researching for the potential to develop production plants that are efficient across more than simply production economics. These plants will permit high-value manufacture because they also minimise waste (lean), minimise harm to humans, and are well organised in health and safety.

ORIGINALITY- The work has the potential to make a novel intellectual contribution to developing a method to optimise plant productivity across multiple dimensions of value and specifically include occupational health and safety into considerations of plant design.