Simulation and Highly Variable Environments: A Case Study in a Natural Roofing Slates Manufacturing Plant
High variability is a harmful factor for manufacturing performance that may be originated from multiple sources and whose effect might appear in different temporary levels. The case study analysed in this chapter constitutes a paradigmatic case of a process whose variability cannot be efficiently controlled and reduced. It also displays a complex behaviour in the generation of intermediate buffers. Simulation is employed as a tool for detailed modelling of elements and variability components capable of reproducing the system behaviour. A multilevel modelling approach to variability is validated and compared to a conventional static model in which process parameters are kept constant and only process cycle dependant variations are introduced. Results show the errors incurred by the simpler static approach and the necessity of incorporating a time series model capable of simulating the autocorrelation structure present in data. A new layout is proposed and analysed by means of the simulation model in order to assess its robustness to the present variability. The new layout removes unnecessary process steps and provides a smoother response to changes in the process parameters.
KeywordsCycle Time Utilization Rate Time Series Model Discrete Event Simulation Target Format
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