A simulation-based work order release mechanism for a flexible manufacturing system
A newly-installed, nonsynchronous, palletized assembly system was analyzed extensively, using simulation and automatically-collected machine fault data, to examine the viability of proposed improvements and to identify additional areas of opportunity for improvement.The completely serial line, with very limited buffering, performed at a fraction of its specified throughput when first installed. Simulation, using the SIMAN simulation language (Systems Modeling Corp., Sewickley, Pennsylvania), was first employed to determine the effects of certain proposed changes. Thorough model validation and accurate analysis were facilitated through the use of computer-collected machine fault data. By fitting probability distributions to the data, the data could be easily manipulated for experimentation.When the simulation showed that the proposed changes would fail to produce the required output, the simulation study continued, with the objectives of isolating the areas of greatest opportunity and steering redesign efforts in the direction of greatest return.And finally during the course of the study, the simulation model came to be relied on as an operational tool, used to understand the implications of, and requirements for, short-term changes in operating patterns and production requirements.This paper will explore the methodology employed, including data preparation, and the conclusions reached.
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