What is Manufacturing Simualtion?

Factory graphic

Manufacturing Simulation is a mathematical model of your production systems. This can be a real facility or a design idea you are developing. The beauty is you define the individual processes, resources and products and the Manufacturing Simulation Software runs it together as whole dynamic system.

You can model a single production line or a whole manufacturing facility including supply chains, administrative systems, and product distribution. I’ve discussed this in more detail in a previous article.

The complexity of the model depends upon what question you need answering? It is worth spending extra time defining the question as this helps focus and speed-up the data collection and modelling phases and helps ensure you get the answers you are looking for. Here are some typically question we have been asked:

  • Where are utilisation losses coming from?
  • What is the optimum re-order level?
  • What is the payback period for this new piece of equipment?
  • How quick does a conveyor need to be repaired?
  • What is the best product mix for our current resources?
  • What is our activity-based costs?

We have a bunch of short video clips demonstrating how we used simulation to answer these questions.

Mechanistically a Manufacturing Simulation model is composed of activities, resources, and work items that are linked together to model work and information flow. Each element has its performance and behaviour defined. This sound more complex than it is. For example, an activity of removing a car tyre would be defined by how long it takes to remove a tyre and how many tyres can be removed at the same time plus what activity is done before and after the tyre is removed. If you were developing a more complex model, you may include what materials are used, what tools and equipment are used, the amount of energy used, and the type and skill of the operator.

At Production Support 56 we use Manufacturing Simulation to validate, optimise and communicate production development plans. We take a client’s production and equipment performance data and give them predictive information answering those important questions. For more information check out our Simulation for Factory Design page.


Back to the original question. What is Manufacturing Simulation? It is a tool for solving operation problems.


Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay