Manufacturing operations can vary from very complex operations involving high mix production and immense variability to more straight forward operations such a simple assembly lines and low mix production.
With many different manufacturing facilities, parts and products and resources that vary in their levels of interaction, it is often difficult to maintain different entities within the operation, and at the same time view the system as a whole. It is difficult to gauge how changes to one part of the system will affect the rest of the system. Because of the intricate nature of manufacturing operations, planning for improvements and managing increased demands must be made carefully and with each part of the operation taken into account.
The key to improving manufacturing practices using dynamic simulation® will be to identify a solution that maintains the relationship between each entity within the system. The solution must accurately analyze capacities, constraints and bottlenecks within the system. The solution must also be able to show how changes made affect the current verses future state of the individual entity, as well as the entire manufacturing operation.
What you will learn from this white paper?
This white paper, from CreateASoft, on improving manufacturing practices will provide you with an understanding of how the manufacturing operation can benefit from a dynamic process simulation solution while providing the questions you should be asking every vendor before deciding on a solution.
There are many features and capabilities to take into account when evaluating an optimization solution for manufacturing purposes. The following are some key aspects that would be required in a robust solution.
What should your manufacturing optimization solution be capable of?
- Identifying bottlenecks and the contributing factors to these problems.
- Determining optimal staffing levels and equipment technology.
- Improve efficiency and increase throughput.
- Generate inventory analysis from historical and real-time data to reduce inventory without losing support for variability.
- Optimize scheduling and sequencing to minimize set-up and changeover time.
- Present scenario comparison graphs, charts, and data.
- Evaluate changes and analyze consequences.
- Work for you, not against you.
Consider a solution that allows for:
- Dynamic, “On-The-Fly” Interaction.
- Integrated Scenario Analysis.
- Run Time I/O Connectivity.
- Forecasting Based on Past Data.
- No-Code Model Building.
1. Goals and Objectives
Optimizing Manufacturing Practices
With multiple potential and competing goals to work towards, one must ensure that each individual goal contributes positively to the overall efficiency of manufacturing while at the same time not shifting problems from one area to another. The following are potential improvement opportunities from an optimization standpoint that a dynamic simulation® solution, such as SimTrack, will provide analysis and recommendations for:
- Inventory Analysis & Recommendations.
- Resources and labor allocation, along with the potential impact and productivity gains.
- Generating data from the production floor.
- Material flow and bottlenecks in production.
- Live tracking feed on equipment, transports, inventory, etc…
- Capacity Analysis. - Current State & Future State Forecast.
- View the process from the viewpoint of the entire system, rather than individual components.
- Live web updates and the ability to store and warehouse data.
- Revert back to past time to analyze and inspect so past mistakes are not repeated.
- Experiment with possible changes to equipment and resources and view the effects on the productivity of the manufacturing system as a whole.
- Creating schedules and sequence timing to minimize set-up and changeover time.
- Balancing production lines.
- Decreasing inventory, yet still accounting for variability, in order to increase profits.
Often times when working towards improving individual aspects of the operation, it is difficult to identify not only the impact on other areas of the operation but the net impact on overall efficiency gains. This is most prevalent in static analysis tools such as Excel, or in other words, tools that fail to take into account the dynamics of the interrelated processes, people, materials, equipment, and system variability present within the manufacturing industry.
2. The Solution - Dynamic Simulation®
Dynamic Simulation® allows not only for the relationship between entities to be maintained, but also for an immersive and interactive scenario development and opportunity testing environment. This allows the user to interact with the virtual environment and test, “on-the-fly,” any and all changes to layouts, processes, people, equipment, automation implementations, schedules, inventory options, sequencing patterns and virtually any change you can think of that may have a positive impact on the operation without the risk and cost of testing changes in a live environment. Dynamic Simulation® allows the user the flexibility to view changes in real-time, saving time and money. Proactive forecasting of future events allows user the freedom to experiment with different scenarios, promoting proactive and economically advantageous decision making.
Typically a CAD layout, either 2D or 3D, will be imported into the model to ensure proper distance calculations. Then, processes, connections/conveyors, travel paths, and other defined data will be input into the model. Models are built graphically, without the need to write code. This is an important distinction between traditional and dynamic simulation® environments. Defining schedules, sequences, processes, etc. can be driven by distributions, but more importantly, and in vastly every manner, it has the ability to interact in real-time with external data sources to pull product mix, routing, and any other relevant data to the model from existing ERP systems, bar code systems, etc. Utilizing historical data delivers upwards of 98% accuracy, while at the same time delivering an apples-to-apples comparison of current and future state with proposed changes. This proactive forecasting allows the user to see projected scenarios based on actual collected data. The user has the ability to interact with the model while it is still running, saving time and providing feedback immediately. The user can then utilize this information to better understand possible outcomes, advantages and disadvantages to changes, and ultimately select the most logical, efficient, feasible and economically advantageous course of action. Integrated optimization, analysis, 2D and 3D visualization, along with the ability to create the model or virtual environment all without writing code make Simcad Pro's dynamic simulation® environment the perfect solution for a company’s manufacturing optimization needs.
Dynamic simulation® instantly provides, through integrated reporting and scenario analysis, feedback on efficiency gains at the point of attack, as well as how the change propagates throughout the system. Simcad allows users to strategize how the operation will ramp up or down based on changes in demand, react to disruptions in supply, both planned and unplanned, and how changes in the product mix will impact the operation as a whole. Additionally, dynamic simulation® benefits the user in terms of allowing for a multitude of changes to the system in a virtual environment where the user does not have the extensive costs associated with trial and error or the lengthy time-consuming process of utilizing excel sheets, for example. A dynamic simulation® allows the user the opportunity to check and set optimal schedules, get live updates for increased control on productivity, as well as play out “what-if” scenarios to optimize resources, equipment, schedules and production. Dynamic simulation® allows the user to maintain relationships throughout the manufacturing, in order to better understand how different changes affect the entire system. The user can also analyze possible differences in efficiency based on automation verses manual labor. The best path for production can be established, in order to increase productivity and reduce non-value-added time. Through Simcad Pro's dynamic simulation® environment, all of this and more can be done, all without having to write code.
3. Conclusion – What You Need to Know.
Dynamic simulation® is a viable and accurate tool used in understanding current constraints, identifying effects of process changes, and visualizing and communicating the impact of moving from current to future state.
Limitations and Issues with Traditional Simulation
While there are numerous options on the market for simulation software to evaluate, it is important to note that many simulation vendors are careful to present their solution as an easy to use implementation. Promising the world and failing to deliver is a common experience with traditional tools due to the inherent limitations of the traditional technology and extensive C++, c#, or custom scripting requirements to achieve an accurate model of the operation. Pretty pictures look good, but the time it takes to build an accurate model, optimize, and compare scenarios in most cases lends itself to long development times, and projects can go on for months with no end in sight.
Advantages and Benefits of a Dynamic Simulation® Environment
- No-code model building.
- Real-time connectivity with external data sources to ensure accurate calculations.
- Interactive “on-the-fly” model changes.
- Live updates to the web.
- Dynamic lean analysis.
Questions to Ask
- How can I analyze and compare between current and future states from the model?
- How do I go about making changes to the system?
- Do I have to stop the model every time I want to make a change? Can you show me how, with a fresh model?
- How can I integrate current information and tools we already use into the model?
- How can dynamic simulation® help to account for both planned and unplanned downtime within the system?
With the economy as it is and funds being more closely scrutinized before spending authorization, it is imperative you understand the advantageous and capabilities of a system before making a purchase. Simcad Pro's patented dynamic simulation® engine delivers unmatched technology to users looking to identify, analyze and optimize manufacturing operations.