The CKN Knowledge in Practice Centre is in the early stages of content creation and currently focuses on the theme of thermal management.
We appreciate any feedback or content suggestions/requests using the links below

Content requests General feedback Feedback on this page

Factory cells (where and how) - A208

From CKN Knowledge in Practice Centre
Systems Catalogue - A5The factory - A159Factory cells (where and how) - A208
Factory cells (where and how)
Process flow-JJBnrDwmVS9r.svg
Document Type Article
Document Identifier 208

Overview[edit | edit source]

Factory cells are the individual cells where the equipment (E), tooling, and consumables (T) interact with the part material (M) and shape (S) to transform the part towards its final state. Factory cells, therefore, dictate how the material will be transformed into the final part, step by step.

Material and shape dictates the necessary Tooling & consumables and equipment within factory cells

Factory cells can generally be grouped into the following categories:

While manufacturing processes for composite products are often colloquially named after their material deposition step, it is important to remember that manufacturing processes for any given product need not to follow the historical layout of conventional processes. Rather, the necessary factory cells should be tailored to the product to achieve the desired outcomes as allowed by the science of material processing.

In a factory, factory cells are grouped based on the physical space of the factory they are carried out in. This is illustrated in the figure below.

Factory layout

Refer to systems interactions to gain a general understanding of the interacting components in factory cells and how they come together to influence the system response. To learn more about the individual factory cells, click on any of the links in the above list or in the explore this area further section.

Explore this area further

About Help
CKN KPC logo


Welcome to the CKN Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC). The KPC is a resource for learning and applying scientific knowledge to the practice of composites manufacturing. As you navigate around the KPC, refer back to the information on this right-hand pane as a resource for understanding the intricacies of composites processing and why the KPC is laid out in the way that it is. The following video explains the KPC approach:

Understanding Composites Processing

The Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC) is centered around a structured method of thinking about composite material manufacturing. From the top down, the heirarchy consists of:

The way that the material, shape, tooling & consumables and equipment (abbreviated as MSTE) interact with each other during a process step is critical to the outcome of the manufacturing step, and ultimately critical to the quality of the finished part. The interactions between MSTE during a process step can be numerous and complex, but the Knowledge in Practice Centre aims to make you aware of these interactions, understand how one parameter affects another, and understand how to analyze the problem using a systems based approach. Using this approach, the factory can then be developed with a complete understanding and control of all interactions.

The relationship between material, shape, tooling & consumables and equipment during a process step

Interrelationship of Function, Shape, Material & Process

Design for manufacturing is critical to ensuring the producibility of a part. Trouble arises when it is considered too late or not at all in the design process. Conversely, process design (controlling the interactions between shape, material, tooling & consumables and equipment to achieve a desired outcome) must always consider the shape and material of the part. Ashby has developed and popularized the approach linking design (function) to the choice of material and shape, which influence the process selected and vice versa, as shown below:

The relationship between function, material, shape and process

Within the Knowledge in Practice Centre the same methodology is applied but the process is more fully defined by also explicitly calling out the equipment and tooling & consumables. Note that in common usage, a process which consists of many steps can be arbitrarily defined by just one step, e.g. "spray-up". Though convenient, this can be misleading.

The relationship between function, material, shape and process consisting of Equipment and Tooling and consumables


The KPC's Practice and Case Study volumes consist of three types of workflows:

  • Development - Analyzing the interactions between MSTE in the process steps to make decisions on processing parameters and understanding how the process steps and factory cells fit within the factory.
  • Troubleshooting - Guiding you to possible causes of processing issues affecting either cost, rate or quality and directing you to the most appropriate development workflow to improve the process
  • Optimization - An expansion on the development workflows where a larger number of options are considered to achieve the best mixture of cost, rate & quality for your application.