Intermittent Production System
According to E.S Buffa, intermittent production situations are those where the facilities must be flexible enough to handle a variety of products and sizes, or where the basic nature of the activity imposes change of important characteristics of the input (e.g., change in product design). In instances such as these, no single sequence pattern of operations is appropriate, so the relative location of the operation must be a compromise that is best for all inputs considered together.”
Under intermittent production, the basic product design changes from time to time. Therefore, facilities should be flexible enough to handle a wide variety of products and of different shapes and size. Production facilities are arranged according to their functions so that functional skills and expertise can be concentrated on a specialized operation. Job type machine shops, batch type chemical operations are examples of intermittent model.
Characteristics of Intermittent Production System
The main characteristics of intermittent production system are as follows:
(a) The flow of production is intermittent, not continuous
(b) The volume of production is generally small
(c) A wide variety of products are produced
(d) General purpose machines and equipment are used so as to be adaptable to a wide variety of operations
(e) No single sequence of operations is used and periodical adjustments are made to suit different jobs or batches
(f) Functional or process layout is adopted
(g) The components are produced for inventory but they are assembled is per customer orders.
Intermittent system is much more complex than continuous production because every product has to be treated differently under the constraint of limited resources. intermittent system can be effective in situations which satisfy the following conditions :
(i) The production centers should be located in such a manner so that they can dandle a wise range of inputs.
(ii) Transportation facilities between production centers should be flexible enough to accommodate variety of routes for different inputs.
iii) The skill and speed of each center is different In order to maintain a proper flow of work, it becomes, therefore, necessary to provide storage facility between different production centers. There must be sufficient flexibility of routes, volume and product design. Adequate storage between op-rations helps to make better utilization of men and machines.
Types of Intermittent Production System
Intermittent Production may be of two types :
(1) Job production: It involves the manufacturing of a single complete unit with the use of a group of operators and processes as per the customer’s order. This is a ‘special order’ type of production. Each job or product is different from the others and no repetition is involved.
(2) Batch production : In this type of production, the work on any product is divided into few operations and each operation is completed for the whole lot before proceeding to the next operation. Each batch contains identical items but every batch is different from the others.