FACTS ANALYSER: AN INNOVATIVE TOOL FOR FACTORY CONCEPTUAL DESIGN USING SIMULATION
Paper in proceedings, 2007
Despite simulation possesses an established background and offers tremendous promise for designing and analysing complex production systems, manufacturing industry has been less successful in using it as a decision support tool, especially in the early conceptual phase of factory design. If simulation is used today for system design, it is more often used in later phases when important design
decisions have already been made and costs are locked. With an aim to advocate the use of simulation in early phases of factory design, this paper introduces FACTS Analyser, a toolset developed based on the concept of integrating model abstraction, input data management and simulation-based optimisation under an innovative framework. Specifically, it addresses a novel aggregation method, which is based on Effective Processing Time, for modelling variability of workstations. Other features like simulation model generation, parallel simulation, optimisation and output data analysis that are provided by FACTS Analyser, through a Web Services interface, are also revealed. The aggregation method, when combined together with other system components, can synthetically enable simulation to become easier to use and speed up the time-consuming model building and experimentation process, which are required in conceptual design phases of production systems. Initial validation results applied to a trucks assembly plant is also given.