A manufacturing simulation is the mathematical modeling,
usually coupled with a graphical representation, of a new or existing
manufacturing operation. All the steps involved in the manufacture of a product
are modeled and sequenced accordingly, affording the designer the opportunity to
visualize each step in the process and their interrelations, prior to the
start-up or independent of the operating manufacturing line. The simulation
predicts or echoes the behavior of real-world systems as the products step
through the manufacturing processes.
"What-if" analysis leads to optimizing the manufacturing
system, which results in minimized scrap, reduced downtime, reduced queuing or
bottleneck problems, and the elimination of redundant operations. Thus, the
equipment, work flow, and overall manufacturing processes can then be
implemented with high confidence, having been previously optimized in a virtual
After the manufacturing operation is implemented on the
factory floor, the simulation model provides a baseline against which any
proposed changes to the system can be analyzed prior to actual implementation.
Simulation is also an effective method for studying schedule optimization,
throughput increase, inventory reduction, resource utilization, and problem
Since simulation-based "what-if" analyses can be done
off-line to troubleshoot and improve factory operations, manufacturing
simulation is also an efficient testing tool. Without contributing to factory
down-time, engineers can test control strategies and determine the factory
response to standard operations or to transient events that may otherwise lead
to an unnecessary plant shutdown.
The implementation of simulation tools can also be used
to help enhance employee performance. Integrating simulation-based training for
factory or plant operations personnel puts operators' skills to work more
effectively and economically. Additionally, factories with hazardous materials
environments frequently build simulated "malfunctions" into their
simulation-based training systems in order to train operators in emergency
Miller, R.K., & Press, F. (1989). Manufacturing Simulation. New York:
Harrell, C., & Tumay, K. (1997). Simulation Made Easy: A Manager's Guide. Engineering and Management Press.
Thomson, N. (1985). Simulation in Manufacturing. New York: Wiley & Sons.
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