Modeling and simulation tools and techniques are being
used more frequently by enterprises to improve their product development
processes. To meet consumer demands, organizations are striving to produce
higher quality products while simultaneously reducing development costs and
cycle times. Modeling and simulation can be used to enhance various product
development and process improvement tasks, such as developing and evaluating
design alternatives and manufacturing requirements as well as prototyping (see
). A model is a snapshot representation of the behavior of a
process or product. Simulation involves constructing a model and conducting
experiments, such as "what if" analyses, to determine the behavior of a process
or product with respect to time or other factors, such as changes in material or
Modeling and simulation tools can be used to help
evaluate a product's producibility with technology that supports both product
design and manufacturing engineering. The use of these tools can assist the
manufacturing team in designing the manufacturing process for a product design
while in the early stages of development. The equipment, workflow, and overall
process for manufacturing can be developed and evaluated for functionality,
reliability, and safety at a fraction of the cost that would be required to
actually perform the activities represented by the model. This up-front
verification of designs also aids in the avoidance of costly field
modifications, rework, and scrap. Some studies indicate that the use of modeling
and simulation tools can result in significant manufacturing cost avoidance,
- 20-60% reductions in set-up time,
- 15-25% reductions in planned labor and tooling,
- 15-75% reductions in rework and scrap, and
- 20-50% reductions in work-in-progress carrying cost.
Each iteration of a component design can require tooling
modifications in addition to the base costs of producing the actual component.
An effective modeling system enables the simulation of this iterative process,
thereby reducing the expense of tooling development trials. Modeling will reduce
unit costs for complex components by eliminating the need to make multiple
full-size trial parts to verify the method. Another benefit is the reduction in
lead times for new components.
Simulation-based "what-if" analysis can be conducted
offline to develop, evaluate, and/or improve manufacturing processes without
contributing to production downtime. Use of these tools provides the capability
to execute various operational scenarios, such as testing control strategies or
evaluating the use of new materials, independent of normal operations.
The use of modeling and simulation makes developing and
implementing new processes more efficient. The tools and techniques also provide
a cost-effective means for improving product quality while reducing the costs
and cycle times associated with product development.
Diamond, B. (1996). Concepts of Modeling and Simulation. PC AI Magazine.
Gallaher, M., & Athiragan, P. (1996). Geometric modeling architecture for manufacturing-process simulation software. Product Modeling for Computer Integrated Design and Manufacture.
Groff, G. K., & Muth, J. F. (1972). Operations Management: Analysis for Decisions.