Productivity improvement, due to high competition on global marketplace, requires a concurrent/reverse engineering approach to layout design, simulation and optimization in as short as possible times. Besides, a facility layout problem can be viewed as a combinatorial optimization problem solvable through heuristic methodologies. Designers, engineers and managers needs automated tools to effectively analyze layout and define an optimal configuration. Central to success is the integration of multi objective mathematical procedures with robust design techniques and virtual representation/validation in stereoscopic real scale. Flow analysis, plant design and optimal 3-D layout representation, with virtual environment validation, are the objects in our facility layout approach. In a Virtual Reality environment, using Axiomatic Design, it is possible to analyze alternative design configurations with little efforts and short time, obtaining improvements in communication, savings in changes and assuring design integration with computer tools. Encouraged by the big interest on Virtual Reality abilities, the paper presents an innovative robust design application based on a Rectangle-Packing placement optimization procedure with Virtual Reality environment validation of a real flow shop production process.
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