Manufacturing Cells

DEFINITION of 'Manufacturing Cells'

Sets of machines that are grouped by the products or parts they produce in a lean manufacturing environment. This system is used in the cellular manufacturing concept, which is distinct from the traditional functional manufacturing system in which all similar machines are grouped together. The use of manufacturing cells improves material flow and is especially suited for batch production, even in relatively low volumes.

BREAKING DOWN 'Manufacturing Cells'

One of the challenges of implementing a cellular manufacturing system is the actual establishment of manufacturing cells. If the same machines are required in different cells, it may result in higher capital requirements. However, the benefits of manufacturing cells, such as higher productivity, better responsiveness to market conditions and the ability to produce customized goods in small volumes, more than offset these drawbacks.