What is Batch Flow? – Continuous flow and alternatives

Continuous flow and batch flow are two different production models used in a manufacturing setting. While both have their benefits, batch flow is often less efficient and more prone to errors than continuous flow.

This blog post will look at what batch flow is and some of its key disadvantages.

Definition of Batch Flow

Batch flow implies that each unique batch is completed in one work center before the entire batch is moved to the next work center.

In this process, subsequent batches should wait until the current batch moves to the next work center.

The production process is one of the success factors of the business. Batch flow is one of the essential and successful production processes.

Because of this process, a manufacturer can produce multiple products simultaneously.

Batch Flow

Advantages of Batch flow process

  • It reduces the initial setup cost.
  • It allows you to implement an entire system of batch processing equipment easily and cheaply.
  • It enables you to set up each process separately.
  • It suits the pharmaceutical, rare metal, food, and packing industries.
  • No need to concentrate on a single type of product. Hence it increases flexibility to produce other types of products.

The batch process is suitable for the clothing and seasonal products manufacturing industries.

The cloth industry can manufacture different colored, different sized clothes by adopting this process.

Disadvantages

Batch flow is not a suitable process for all types of industries. So we should know the disadvantages of it.

  • Its processing cost is high
  • Batch flow is a time and energy-consuming process
  • Equipment used in the batch process requires more space.
  • Additional laborers are required to move the products from one place to another.

Example of Batch flow process

For example, assume a textile industry provides towels, bedsheets, and pillow covers to a hotel they require for their business. With the batch process, it is easy to fulfill the orders of that hotel.

It is easy to produce 200-bed sheets, 1000 large pillow covers, 700 small pillow covers, 500 curtains, etc., with the help of one set of machinery.

With the flexibility of the batch process, the textile industry can immediately attain the demands of that particular hotel.

In the same way, for businesses like cookies baking, samosa baking, and sandwich making, the batch process is a good choice.

Because these businesses must supply their products when they are fresh as they have a short shelf life, hence in this case, batch production makes sense.

Suppose the cookies baking company produces a large shelf life of cookies, then the continuous process is efficient.

What are the products produced using batch flow?

The batch flow products are baked items, computer chips, clothes, newspapers, magazines, books, electrical goods, and jig productions.

How do you bring efficiency to batch flow?

Batch flow is less efficient compared to continuous flow. But somehow, you can bring efficiency in batch flow by following the below steps.

Decrease the possibilities of the type of products

If you are producing 16 to 20 cookies, ask yourself a question: Is it profitable to produce 16 to 20 types of cookies?. Then review the demand for the cookies.

Find out the fast-moving cookies and produce only that type of cookies. Then, remove the slow-moving, less profitable types of cookies.

Still, you want to produce all varieties, then extend the manufacturing time for slow-moving cookies so that you will get more orders during the time of the process.

Move the employees during switchover time.

Assume that you have 15 employees in the production of a batch, and you need to change the setup for another batch.

At that time, retain only one or two employees to change the setup and move other workers to another work until the setup changed.

Employees utilize this time to clean up the place and assist the other employees.

Increase the cost of special batch

Some customers ask for customized or unique products. So that batch requires some extra setups. But, on the other hand, it reduces the number of switchovers. Hence charge more cost for that products.

Adopt lean manufacturing

The lean manufacturing method helps to decrease the switchover time. It reduces the wasteful process.

Continuous flow process

In this process, a single work unit moves between all stages without any breaks in time. Here flow of products or units takes place continuously.

Advantages of continuous flow are

  • Saves time and energy
  • It helps you to save money by reducing inventory and transportation costs
  • Improves the quality of the product by identifying the fault easily
  • Increases productivity
  • Meets customer needs effectively compared to batch process

What is the difference between Batch flow and continuous flow?

Batch Flow V/S Continuous Flow

The above image shows the time consumption in both batch and continuous processes. Time taken for the first product in the batch process is 21 mins. To produce one batch of 10 products takes 30 mins.

Time taken for the first product in the continuous process is 3 mins. Hence to produce ten products takes 12 mins.

Following are the significant differences between batch flow and continuous flow.

  1. Equipment cost is high in continuous and low in a batch process.
  2. It is difficult to maintain a good quality of products in the batch process because defects are not identified until the whole batch is completed. Whereas in a continuous process, it is easy to find the defect in the product because in this process a single product moves between each stage of the process.
  3. The production rate is less in a continuous flow, but it is high in the batch flow process.
  4. Shut down happens more frequently in a batch process, whereas in a continuous process, it is rare.
  5. It is effortless to handle the batch process. But handling is difficult in continuous flow.
  6. The continuous flow requires a large workplace, whereas the batch flow process requires a small workplace.

Conclusion

To summarize, batch flow is a system that works best for manufacturing and assembly line processes. It utilizes the concept of “batch size” to make an entire group of units move through production at once to minimize costs by reducing inventory levels (which require more space) and avoiding setup times between steps.

Continuous flow systems are also popular because they provide better customer service, allowing faster response times during peak periods, reduce labor requirements on each step of the process, and keep up with changes in demand or product design without disrupting operations.

Some industries need batch flow like pharma, food, and sensitive and rare metal industries.

Some industries need continuous flow, like mining industries and material processing industries.

We hope you’ve found this post informative.

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