Definition & applications
A material flow diagram is used to illustrate material and mass flows in a visually appealing way. Thus they can show e.g. the distribution of goods or the consumption of resources within a production system. Furthermore they are applicable for holistic material flow analyses. They can cover a great number of areas, such as:
- Material flow analysis and management
- Supply chain management
- Plant planning
- Process engineering
Visualized by so called Sankey diagrams – with flow widths proportional to the flow quantity – material flow diagrams draw the attention to the biggest mass flows of the system.
Mass flows in material flow management
Sankey diagrams are well suited for an effective material flow management and analysis. Within the flow diagram all relevant material and energy flows as well are visualized.
The focus is on improving energy and material efficiency and on the creation of closed loops. By doing this, companies can save resources as well as costs which leads to a more sustainable production.
Distribution of goods and logistics
Material flow charts can also be quite helpful for the visualization of the distribution of goods, within a factory hall, an entire location or for regional and supra-regional transportation.
The benefit is evident: ways and flows containing a high level of traffic volume can be identified and later on modified. Bottlenecks can be reduced and the distribution of goods can be handled more efficiently.
Material flow charts provide a lot of benefits for the visualization of material usages.
- holistic view on material streams
- Illustration through Sankey diagrams with widths proportional to the amount
- Clear distinction through color sets
- Balance check of input and output flows
- Combination with energy and cost flows
Rising material costs and a sustainable consumption of resources are the most important challenges of the time. Material flow diagrams support you identifying losses, closing loops and increasing resource efficiency in a sustainable way.