A model for assessing the layout structural complexity of manufacturing systems

H. Elmaraghy, T. Algeddawy, S. N. Samy, V. Espinoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The layout of a manufacturing facility/system not only shapes its material flow pattern and influence transportation and operation cost, but also affects logistics and parts/machine assignment decisions. The layout of manufacturing systems determines its structural complexity by virtue of its design configuration characteristics. This paper introduces a new model and indices for assessing the structural complexity of manufacturing systems layout in the physical domain. Six complexity indices, based on the physical structural characteristics of the layout, have been introduced and formulated. They are layout density, path, cycle, decision points, redundancy distribution and magnitude indices. An overall Layout Complexity Index (LCI) which combines all indices is developed using a novel method based on radar plots which is insensitive to the order of plotting the individual indices. The use of the developed LCI is demonstrated using six typical types of manufacturing systems layouts and relevant guidelines are presented. The developed model and complexity indices help design system layouts for least complexity and compare layout alternatives that meet the specifications, at early design stages. It supports making trade-off decisions regarding manufacturing systems flexibility and complexity and their associated costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the support and funding provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada and the Canadian Research Chair (CRC) program .


  • Complexity
  • Graph theory
  • Layout
  • Manufacturing systems


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