Date: 13 Aug 2008

Towards an improved tool to facilitate simulation modelling of complex manufacturing systems

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Abstract

Computer-based simulation is one of the most valuable aids for manufacturing systems design, yet its use remains limited. The main reason for this is that current manufacturing systems are extremely complex and the user-friendly capabilities provided even by the most advanced simulation tools are not sufficient to cope with such complexity. On this basis, the paper explores the development of an improved tool to ease and speed up simulation modelling of complex manufacturing systems. A simulation interface, created and currently used at a major automotive manufacturer, is considered and a rigorous assessment of the extent to which this interface can support the simulation modelling process is provided. The paper evaluates the viability to use the interface as a basis for a general purpose simulation modelling tool capable of coping with any complex manufacturing systems, analyses its potential values, and proposes developments that can support the uptake of simulation techniques within the manufacturing industry.