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THE APPLICABILITY OF SIMULATION TECHNOLOGY

Simulation technology holds great promise for the manufacturing process by allowing
changes to increase efficiency of the process. Simulation technology helps reduce cost,
improve quality and shorten the time to market for manufactured goods. Also simulation
technology leads in most cases to a large return on investment.
[1]
Simulation technology
also directly improves and validates the designs of a wide range of manufacturing
system. However, simulation technology still remains largely underutilized by the
industry at this day. The implementation of simulation would bring adverse effects due
to it being intertwined and connected closely with strategic manufacturing.
In addition, simulation tools have been used in the system planning and design.
Todays simulation tools are used in all different phases of manufacturing system life
cycle. With such variables and demands, product life expectancy or cycles are getting
shorter and customers want variety in the goods. When the system becomes more
complex and sophisticated, production system flexibility is the key factor to always
smooth operation.

Figure 3-1.Challenging factors
Production simulation are an important tool to ensure the the design steps are
shortened .With faster manufacturing system designs and faster ramp-up processes the
Time-to-market period can be shortened.
[2]


Figure 3-2.Digital manufacturing tool
This day of age, simulation models and technology are used in single projects
that target the tactical or decision making support. Many of these models are designed to
plan equipment purchases or to evaluate planned changes of material flow control.
[3]
A manufacturing system is made up of entities; input and outputs, activities,
resources and controls. ( Harrel and Tumay 1995 ).It encompasses processes but also
includes the resources and controls for carrying them out, as shown in figure below.
[4]

Figure 3-3.A manufacturing system
Manufacturing system designs involves a number of interrelated subjects
including tooling, strategy, material handling systems, system size, process flow
configuration, flexibility needed for future engineering changes or capacity adjustment
and space strategy .The production process design is a critical area, since any decision
will affect the system behavior for a long time to come, and/or be very costly to change
once the system is up and running.
[5]

Simulation studies include resource utilization, line productivity and
manufacturing costs helps to identify the most suitable manufacturing line type within a
factory.
[6]
There are many way and avenues simulation can be utilized. In the
manufacturing system life cycle the following steps can be found; concept creation,
layout planning, production simulation, software development, operator training and
potentially operational use of the simulation model in decision support for managers.
Simulation models can shorten the sales cycle of a production system. The usage
or application of simulation in manufacturing is as follows,
[7]
Layout and concert creation ( 3D , animation)
- Visualization , communication
- Cell, lines , factories
Production simulation ( data , analysis , reports )
- Control principle, routing ,buffer sizes ,capacity , utilization ,
Software development ( emulation , system integration )
Training of operators ( emulation , VR )
Operational use of simulation ( Data , speed integration )
Simulation also can be used for layout planning and concept creation. With the
use of 3D visualization tools are needed to improve communication in concurrent
engineering teams. In this step the facility floor space needs and production principle
is verified. Logistic solutions can be evaluated too. Quick simulation or modelling is
really beneficial here.
In the case of software development, simulation models can emulate the real
system. The real programs that will be used in the real system can be tested with the
real data if available. The virtual system, simulation model replaces in this case the
planned system before anything is built to the factory floor. One of the main
requirements here is validated simulation model and integration of software.
For the case of training purposes of operators, the emulation and simulation
model is a great tool for training the operators; the system parameters can be studied
with the simulation model. The software training with the real data can be done and
this speeds up the ramp-up phase. If the control software has been integrated with the
simulation model. The operators have the same user interface as in the real life and
the simulation gives a holistic view to the manufacturing system.
While some models are used to plan and design, other models are used in the
day-to-day operation of manufacturing facilities .These enhancement provides the
chance to evaluate the capacity of the system for new orders , unforeseen events such
as equipment downtime , and changes in operations.
Operations are equipped with schedules that manufacturers can use to run their
facilities. Planning and scheduling systems to validate plans and confirm schedules
can be complemented by the use of simulation. The augmented task of planners and
schedulers can be simulated to run the operation with better efficiency.
Some of the operational uses of simulation models are [Thomson, 1993]:
Emulation of real time control systems
Real time display
Real time forecasting
Scheduling