Integrating Discrete Event Simulation into the Engineering Process Strategic Solutions for Increased Efficiency in Industrial System Development
Doctoral thesis, 2001
Efficient development processes are the key to being competitive, signified by short development lead times, low development costs, and high quality in all development activities. Previous research in academia as well as in industry suggested two important facilitators for obtaining such processes, namely structured development and modeling and simulation. The research detailed in this thesis deals with a combination of the two facilitators, with the purpose of defining strategic solutions for integrating Discrete Event Simulation (DES) into the engineering process, in the area of industrial system development. Thus, the primary research objective has been to increase the efficiency of the development processes for manufacturing environments by effective use of DES techniques. Results obtained from case studies, action research, and literature surveys relate to two areas.
Firstly, a framework for when and how to use DES throughout the life cycle of a development project was defined. The framework was the strategic starting point, where the solid theoretical foundation for the research was laid down by using the enterprise engineering and integration framework GERAM. Thereafter, GERAM was combined with eight generic Main Project Features (MPFs), corresponding to the industrial reality for planning the development process. Following this theoretical framework was the exploration of different aspects on how to adapt the approach to the industrial reality at Volvo Cars. The outcome of this applied research was a map of current DES supported activities as well as a strategy for the future application of DES.
Secondly, a methodology for carrying out DES studies in a standardized way was outlined. The proposed methodology provides a simulation method (pedagogic principles) and a support structure (arrangement for how a model is built, stored, and presented).
Together, these strategic solutions for DES form the knowledge base for integrating the technique in the development process as well as making it an accepted technique for continuous decision-making support in a large organization such as Volvo Cars. In extension, such solutions will lead to increased efficiency of the development processes.
discrete event simulation
manufacturing system development