Testing & Validation of New Plant Design with Manufacturing Simulation

Background

Allied Protek are an Engineering company that provide project management, and Engineering & Design services. They work in numerous sectors including, Food & Drink, Chemical and Defence.

 

They were commissioned to conduct a front-end engineering design study for a fertiliser manufacturer, the aim was to automate the manufacturing process and reduce raw material inventories. To support their design, they needed dynamic calculations of inventory levels and vehicle movements.

  • Confirmed plant design meets client’s specifications.

  • Identified ~£1million of capital savings.

  • Communicated new plant design to all stakeholders.

  • Allowed clients to test the new design.

  • Removed operational bottlenecks at design stage.

Challenges

Raw material storage- The client wanted sufficient raw material storage to maintain production and retain a minimum days’ worth of stock. The challenge they faced was a static calculation only gave an average inventory level and did not take into account variation of consumption and delivery through a normal working day.

 

Vehicle movement and queuing– They wanted smooth traffic flow around the plant and to minimise the amount of queuing on public roads before entering site. This could only be examined and optimised using a dynamic calculation.

 

Maintain current production capacity– The client’s brief was to maintain the current plant’s capacity. This was difficult to calculate as there were shared resources, varying cycle times, many moving parts and each product was bespoke.

Production Support 56 were brought in late to the project and quickly produced an accurate simulation of our design which was run with the client historic production data. They proved the design met all our clients’ requirements and helped us optimise and removed significant costs. The client loved the model demonstration and subsequent what-if games.

Andy Aitken, Project engineer

The Solution

Production Support 56 created a dynamic computer model of Allied Protek’s design and ran it using the client’s historic production data. The model simulated four major operations.

  • Administration- Setting production schedule and managing raw material inventories.
  • Raw materials delivery- Delivery schedule, arrival, unloading and storage of raw materials.
  • Product manufacturing- Withdrawal and transfer of raw materials, manufacture of product, and loading of distribution tankers.
  • Product distribution- Clean down, loading, distribution and return of product tankers.

The model could test numerous scenarios by configuring it through an excel spreadsheet, and selecting the required production season (spring, summer, or autumn). The data from interesting scenarios could be exported to an excel spreadsheet for further analysis.

The Benefits

Validated Growth Plan

The simulation confirmed that the new design capacity met the client’s expectations. It was also used to develop a growth plan to increase capacity by 25%.

Design Optimisation

Identified bottlenecks and helped optimise the design.

Slashed Capital Costs

Identified underutilised equipment providing ~£1 million of savings from the capital project costs.

Share Design

Communicated new design to clients and all stakeholders.

Operational Insight

Provided operational insight into new plant design.

Scenario Testing

Allowed them to test different scenarios, build confidence and provide useful feedback for the design team.

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