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Hartnell, June (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 49, Number 9 (May 1945)

Lough, John E.
Planning a war plant,   p. 11

Page 11

a War
-John E. Lough, m'47
T HE government wants a new plant to produce materials
    for war. It must be placed in a locality that can sup-
ply the manpower without crippling the manufacturing of
other important war products in that area. It must be
built where the transportation problem will not overbur-
den any already congested transportation services and
where electrical power is available. The new plant must be
managed by capable men whose absence from any other
businesses would not hinder the war effort. This plant
must be built as swiftly as possible and contain every
modern facility for production efficiency.
  This is the problem that has been solved many times
since the war began. The government picks the area for
the proposed location and asks a company whose efficiency
and cooperation have been proven to undertake to plan
the new factory. If the plans are accepted in Washington
the factory will be under the management of this company.
  The project we are interested in is planning the factory
to house the equipment of manufacture. To best illustrate
the procedure that is generally followed in the planning
of a government-controlled plant we will take an actual
case, the manufacturing of the forged aluminum cylinder
head, and follow it through. Although the steps of plan-
ning may vary in complexity and sequence for different
products, the trend of the procedure followed is the same.
This is the actual method that was followed in laying out
a plant to produce finished cylinder heads.
  The first thing done was to survey the land and make a
set of drawings of the area including the surrounding
buildings, railroad, roads and power lines. Then three
representatives were sent to a plant producing the forged
cylinder head. One of the men collected data concerning
the receiving, handling, shipping and storage of parts that
compose the head. Another collected blue prints of all
the machines used in machining the parts and the equip-
ment needed in the inspection departments. The third
engineer studied the methods of handling the cylinder
heads in the heat treating and paint departments. This
was the beginning of the big job, the layout of general
areas for each department and then the layout of the de-
partments in detail.
  The general areas of the departments having been
determined, drawings were made of four or five proposed
buildings. A plan drawing of the approved building cho-
sen from the proposed drawings was laid on a layout
board. Then templates of the plan view of the machines
to be placed in each department in the building were cut
out of light weight cardboard. The templates were made
to the same scale as the layout drawing of the building.
A notation consisting of the name of the machine or
equipment represented, its serial number and, if it had
a motor, the horsepower of the moter was printed on each
template. The cardboard out of which the templates were
cut was of different colors following a code depending
upon the type of machine or equipment. Buff was used
for partitions; yellow for new equipment; red for ovens
and heat treating furnaces; and brown for storage equip-
ment like shelves and racks. After the departments were
laid out the templates were pinned in place with tacks of
different colors which followed another code. An exam-
ple is the use of an orange pin or tack for new machinery
and a red one for old machinery. Colored string is often
used to denote lines of conveyors and routes of operations
on the layout board.
  The job of laying out the individual departments was
given to an engineer thoroughly acquainted with the
equipment, the problems and the requirements of the
department. For final layouts of some departments the
engineer held consultations with other experts. The man
responsible for a department may work for days without
any appreciable results; but eventually the department
will be put in an acceptable form on the layout board. To
find the most efficient and final position for a template in
a department involved numerous trials in which the tem-
plates of the machines, equipment and sometimes build-
ing partitions and entire departments were shifted around
in a seemingly aimless pattern. The group of men setting
up the plant layout work cooperatively in planning the
individual departments that make up the plant. Although
one man may not be responsible for more than one or
possibly two departments the dependent association of the
numerous departments in the plant make close cooperation
necessary in planning.
  The locations of the roads, ramps, truck transport
docks, railroad docks and railroad spurs on the outside of
the building offer a major problem that must be solved.
Another problem to be worked out before any efficient
manufacturing can be done is the handling of materials.
This includes all storage before and after each separate
department, the disposal of scrap from machining areas,
the moving of all materials within the building and outside
the building. When material arrives on a receiving depart-
ment dock it must be stored; before it is worked on in any
department it must be stored; after the cycle of operations
                 (please turn to page 32)
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