This paper addresses automated material handling system design considerations and their impact on manufacturing facility capacity. A simulation based case study in an automated bottling plant provides validation for the design methods employed. The case study facility features a two-floor automated bottling plant integrated with a large automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) and several automatic guided vehicles (AGVs).
Several material handling system design characteristics that negatively impact overall production system capacity at the case study site are identified. Experimentation focuses on the development of alternative system layouts that seek to address these capacity-limiting problems. These layouts are tested under several different production scenarios via a large simulation system that models the automated material handling and production system, material handling system control logic and critical gridlock avoidance issues in the automated system. Results and a discussion of material handling system design considerations related to capacity are presented.