Design and evaluate a cellular manufacturing facility for selected copper products in Zambia

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Hamweendo, Agripa
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The economic advancement of any country depends on its ability to add value (through manufacturing) to its available local raw material resources. Zambia for a long time has been exporting copper as a raw material and importing finished copper products. This economic situation deprives Zambia of more foreign exchange earning which is necessary for national development. It is therefore important that researches on viability of adding value to locally available raw material resources (such as copper) are encouraged to promote value addition before export. This research aims to address the problem of exporting copper as raw material without adding value to it. The research focuses on designing and evaluating a cellular manufacturing facility for adding value to selected copper products. Cellular manufacturing was chosen in this research because it has become a popular manufacturing system for medium demand and medium variety products. In addition, cellular manufacturing facilitates job design, job flow, capacity planning, utilization, machinery arrangement and modernization. The products selected in this research included: cable lugs, contact terminals, earth rods, neutral blocks, copper washers, copper connectors, top plugs and sockets.A market survey was conducted to identify and select the copper products. The parts from the selected copper products were grouped into part families using poly-code classification system. Production Flow Analysis was applied to identify the process engineering and the required machinery. To design the cells (to form the Part-Machine Clusters), simultaneous part family formation and machine grouping solution strategy i.e. the Ranking Order Clustering Algorithm was used. Cellular layout and evaluation processes followed the cell design stage. Cell evaluation involved cell balancing, cost, and benefit analysis. To balance the cells, the Killbridge and Wester method was used.Two (2) linked cells were formed and designed. The cell balance efficiencies were 94.2% and 88.3% indicating good capacity utilization. The cost benefit analysis was done to appraise the facility. The calculated amount of copper cathodes required per week was 3.9591 tonnes which cost US$ 7,773.74. If copper was to be supplied in ready-madeform,the cost per week would be US$ 85,083. This implies that a tonne of copper when processed to primary product would cost US$ 21,490.09 (330% of value of copper cathode). When a tonne of copper undergoes secondary processing, the value increases to US$ 27,390.20 (420% of the copper cathode value). The total revenue per week from the sales of the selected copper products was US$ 113,488.37.The total cost of production was estimated at US$98,408.17 giving a gross Profit US$15,080.20 (13.3% profit margin). In conclusion, this research has brought out important synoptic issues indicating the urgency of considering adding value to copper to earn more foreign exchange necessary for national development. It is therefore encouraged that investors and the government invest into research and development of primary and secondary copper processing industries. Continuing to export raw copper as cathode is not a good economic setup.
Manufacturing cells -- Zambia , Cells -- Mechanical properties -- Zambia , Copper work