The predominant approach on machining is to manufacture a workpiece on a complex done-in-one machine tool. In contrast, the Cellular Manufacturing concept splits up the machining steps and distributes them sequentially to several simpler and cost-efficient machine tools with a higher manual workload. Both concepts are technically feasible, but the question which approach is favorable from an economic perspective is still open.
This article first identifies relevant input factors like machining tasks, operator work content, labor and capital costs, etc. Available machine tools are grouped by a k-means cluster analysis, human tasks of operation are identified by an MTM-UAS analysis. Together with key performance indicators like ‘cell balancing efficiency’, all data are transferred into monetary values and combined to a static total cost comparison model. The paper closes with a validation on industrial parts and a sensitivity analysis of the results achieved.