Group Technology

A technique used to group parts into families based on similar shapes, materials, or processing requirements must be used to categorize parts made in the manufacturing facility. By grouping similar parts, the manufacturing process for a family of parts is simplified.

Group technology (GT) is a manufacturing philosophy that identifies and exploits the underlying sameness of parts and manufacturing processes.

Group technology is a philosophy that implies the notion of recognizing and exploiting similarities in three different ways:

  1. By performing like activities together
  2. By standardizing similar task
  3. By efficiently storing and retrieving information about recurring problems.

In batch-type manufacturing for multi-products and small-lot-sized production, conventionally each part is treated as unique from design through manufacture. However, by grouping similar parts into part families based on either their design or processes, it is possible to increase the productivity through more effective design rationalization and data retrieval, and manufacturing standardization and rationalization.

The basic concept of group technology has been practiced around the world for many years as part of “good engineering practice” and “scientific management”.

In order to achieve the higher productivity and efficiency in batch-type manufacturing, it is absolutely essential to incorporate the concept of group technology into every manufacturing activity including operations and management.

So far, many efforts have been made to apply the group technology concept to the technological aspects of manufacturing activities such as classification and coding systems, design rationalization, GT cells design for group tooling, and others.

Recently, intensive attention is being given to the CAD/CAM system as the application of computers is expanded, and the important roles of GT application for CIM have been recognized. From this point of view, production management aspects of group technology applications have gained great interest in such areas as computer-aided process planning and computerized group scheduling.

  1. Sato, N., Ignizio, J., and Ham, I. “Group Technology and Material Requirements Planning; An Integrated Methodology for Production Control.” CIRP Annals, (1978), pp. 471-473.
  2. Lozano, S., Onieva, L., Larraneta, J., & Teba, J. (1993). A neural network approach to part-machine grouping in GT manufacturing. In Proceedings of Robotics (pp. 619 – 624). Mechatronics and Manufacturing Systems.
  3. Arizono, I., Kato, M., Yamamoto, A., & Ohta, H. (1995). A new stochastic neural network model and its application to grouping parts and tools in flexible manufacturing systems. International Journal of Production Research, 33(6), 1535-1548.