Cost Savings Using Simulation, Part 1 - To Simulate or Not to Simulate

Posted by Admin on Mar 18, 2016 8:18:54 AM

Cost Savings Using Simulation, Part 1 - To Simulate or Not to Simulate


Simulation provides companies with an unparalleled insight into operations and a unique competitive advantage in the market place. Using models allows for replication, investigation and verification of concepts and system scenarios under real-world plant-floor conditions, saving time and money. This is part 1 in a three-part series.


On paper, the design looks perfect. The calculations are precise. The overall efficiency is achieved. The team of engineers, many with “been there, done that” experience concludes that it is time to proceed into the construction of their system.


Fast forward. The manufacturing system is built, conveyor is set, engineers are on site and then the system begins. As soon as the system starts running, packages have clogged the system and are even falling onto the floor. It is clear that accumulation is needed in one part of the line, which impacts the entire system and leaves operators either waiting or completely overwhelmed. It is immediately obvious that the system needs adjustments, which means spending thousands, possibly millions, on materials and labor to fix these issues. This is the engineering team’s nightmare.


Decrease Inefficiency with a Click 

Although this happens often on the manufacturing floor, this nightmare can be predicted and avoided with the use of simulation. By testing design, system performance, and confirming the calculations before construction, the system could have been adjusted with a click of a mouse. By watching the simulation, the engineering team can explore more than one solution and test several scenarios to see which is best for their strategic goal. System killer scenarios that happen only on rare occasions can be tested repeatedly without a real world cost penalty.


When you design a system, you discover its constraints, examine the calculations, and verify assumptions. The goal is to get the system installed and started in the shortest time frame utilizing the least expensive method with the highest long-term sustainable efficiency possible. The use of simulation is a paradigm shift. It allows the project team to do the opposite – break the system and challenge assumptions. By seeing the system from all angles with multiple what-if scenarios before final design, simulation allows the project team to make informed, educated decisions on complex system issues, potentially saving millions.


Quick to Assumptions

It is easy to assume that you need to redesign your entire system because it is inefficient, but what if making a small adjustment to your system could make a significant increase in efficiency? Where should that adjustment happen and what should be done? Simulation can be used to examine your current system’s possibilities before investing in building an entirely new system. By investigating these opportunities within the current system, goals may be met by making small changes to what you already have, possibly saving both time and money.


Simulation and emulation technology, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and capacity analysis spreadsheets, and line audit data collection and reporting can help analyze and report on current line or factory performance before even starting the discussion about designing a new system.


People Are Visual

Along with being aware of many solutions and scenarios, simulation allows the system to be more understandable to a larger audience because it is a visual representation of the system. Engineers have many calculations and drawings that can sometimes be confusing, but by using simulation, particularly Demo3D, the system can be understood by everyone from executive leadership to marketing to engineers to operators on the plant floor.


Consider language barriers. For international companies with plants across the world using the same systems, the same simulation video can be used to train line operators no matter where they are stationed. A visual depiction of the system collapses these boundaries, helps make the line easier to understand, and saves money on training.

Simulation allows manufacturers to determine the best solutions for their system and people. Not only can simulation modeling save on equipment and training, but it can also save time. Stay tuned for the second part to our three part series, Cost Savings Using Simulation, Part 2 - Time is Money.

Can't wait for Part 2? Contact Bela Jacobson at 678.328.3246 or now about how our simulation solutions can help you

Topics: Innovation, Ahead, Simulation, EPC