Case Studies

During the project, we will establish the current situation regarding state of the art simulation and forecasting technologies. From this we will create a roadmap for the manufacturing industry to highlight the research priorities so that the next generation of these technologies can hopefully come to fruition, leading to an increase in Europe's competitiveness across the globe. We will also look at companies who have already been successful with simulation and forecasting, we hope you enjoy reading these case studies.

 
December 2014
3D Simulation interfaced with a Numerical Control

The video shows the execution of a real numerical control program loaded on the CN of the machine. The numerical control is interfaced with a PC running DDD Machine NC and allows visualizing the work sequence in 3D, thus emulating the real machine. The use of this software has several advantages:

  • Easy debugging of machining programs and prevention of collisions
  • For non-standard machines is possible to program the control logic when the machine is still in production, with a drastic reduction of production time
  • RT-surface modification shows results of the machining on "virtual" work piece

 
Routing Simulation Process

The simulation represents machinery and production line in a 3D virtual environment and mimics the system behavior. The goal is to increment the realism level of 3D simulations fostering, in the meanwhile, the diffusion of this as a high adding value tool in small and medium enterprises. In this case, the software is used for simulating complex routing as well as comparing alternative strategies for optimal plant performances. The system supports different simulation levels from the kinematics (with the capability of solving the kinematics for complex machine chains) to both the physics and the process one (machining simulation with material removal and with real-time collisions check).

 
Simulation Driven Production

Simulation Driven Production is a core technology enabler for the vision of manufacturing. Smart Factories of the future consist of individual production modules that organize and optimize themselves. Therefore they need the ability to simulate processes in advance. This include:

  • Simulation of production concepts in early phases for taking the right decisions
  • Starting with a conceptual digital modeling of the production plant which means that every production system receives in parallel with its real development stage a virtual representation across all development stages
  • Access to complete digital data of the production system by all decision makers
  • Simulation for redesign the production system based on information from the smart product

 
Simulation for developing vehicle set-up

The Dallara simulator offers drivers, engineers and race teams the opportunity to develop vehicle set up, refine driving technique and the learn new tracks, as well as the possibility to develop new components, new equipment, even totally new vehicles before the first prototype is created. In this way, the system can help not only those involved in racing, but also the automotive industry as a whole, by reducing costs and development time of new products and limiting the risk of failure.

 
Virtual training solution
This visual demonstration describes the next generation of virtual training solution for manufacturing industries. The software was developed and tested in close collaboration with Adam Opel AG and Volvo Trucks to realize cost effective, ultra-low authoring virtual training an affordable reality for the first time. The system offer:
  • a powerful fully interactive simulation that makes it possible to virtually train assembly processes and sequences
  • no manual authoring effort virtually in creation through automated data input and filtering mechanisms using your existing enterprise and 3D assets
  • a better training experience for the operators by applying technology and principles from the game world
  • feedback between the shop floor and the virtual design engineers during design and production planning

 
3D Simulation interfaced with a Numerical Control

The video shows the execution of a real numerical control program loaded on the CN of the machine. The numerical control is interfaced with a PC running DDD Machine NC and allows visualizing the work sequence in 3D, thus emulating the real machine. The use of this software has several advantages:

  • Easy debugging of machining programs and prevention of collisions
  • For non-standard machines is possible to program the control logic when the machine is still in production, with a drastic reduction of production time
  • RT-surface modification shows results of the machining on "virtual" work piece

 
Routing Simulation Process

The simulation represents machinery and production line in a 3D virtual environment and mimics the system behavior. The goal is to increment the realism level of 3D simulations fostering, in the meanwhile, the diffusion of this as a high adding value tool in small and medium enterprises. In this case, the software is used for simulating complex routing as well as comparing alternative strategies for optimal plant performances. The system supports different simulation levels from the kinematics (with the capability of solving the kinematics for complex machine chains) to both the physics and the process one (machining simulation with material removal and with real-time collisions check).

 
Simulation Driven Production

Simulation Driven Production is a core technology enabler for the vision of manufacturing. Smart Factories of the future consist of individual production modules that organize and optimize themselves. Therefore they need the ability to simulate processes in advance. This include:

  • Simulation of production concepts in early phases for taking the right decisions
  • Starting with a conceptual digital modeling of the production plant which means that every production system receives in parallel with its real development stage a virtual representation across all development stages
  • Access to complete digital data of the production system by all decision makers
  • Simulation for redesign the production system based on information from the smart product

 
November 2014
Product Assembly Solution

DELMIA's High Tech Final Product Assembly solution provides a collaborative approach to validate the product design in the context of manufacturing processes and resource plans. It allows all stakeholders in manufacturing, no matter their level of expertise, to be part of a single community that has all of its members working toward the same shared objectives of production performance. Users are able…

  • to plan, with comprehensive 3D process and resource planning tools to create and optimize build-to-order and lean production manufacturing systems
  • to simulate, with tools to virtually define and optimize manufacturing assets concurrently with manufacturing planning
  • to operate an accurate virtual production system to track real-time production activities, perform schedule changes, launch new programs and introduce model changeovers, and schedule maintenance operations

 
Human interaction with the virtual prototype of an industrial product

The video represents a research activity whose aim is to simulate human interaction with the virtual prototype of an industrial product. The VR environment makes use of haptic, sound and visualization technologies. The Virtual Prototyping Project has been developed by 2 engineers from Politecnico di Milano. Especially in the early phases of the product development, the product developers and user of this system are able...

  • to simulate product specifications in a tangible way
  • to improve design elements, technical units and operating elements
  • to save time and costs before prototyping and product realization

 
August 2014
Customized Solutions to Reduce Packaging Waste

With increasing pressures on all manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of their products, consumer goods giant, Unilever, needed a way to minimize the material used in its packaging while ensuring that it remained strong enough to withstand transportation loads and a variety of use conditions. Advanced virtual simulation technology was needed to optimize Unilever’s packaging designs but, at the time, Unilever did not employ many computer aided engineering (CAE) users, instead having an extremely talented team of CAD engineers at their disposal.

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Simulation-Based Business

MTP plc, Accenture, and Enspire Learning joined forces to design a simulation-based business acumen training program for Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer products companies, and to deliver that program virtually to a global sales audience. With rising competition in the consumer goods market, brand name consumer goods companies such as Unilever are increasingly under pressure to make financially sound decisions at all levels and in all functional areas of the company.

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Delivering innovation and intelligence in product design

An initiative is on going at Unilever to define and reel out a new design approach driven by CAE for the packaging design. Packaging must fulfil many roles throughout the lifecycle of the product, roles that vary significantly depending on the target region, product and consumer driven requirements. In addition to cost, sustainability is a big driver for reducing packaging material, and considering new recyclable options. The technical challenges are many, ranging from capturing complex material response to capturing the process behind accessible user interfaces that can be deployed in a richly varied global business.

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Cutting-Edge Simulation Improves Industrial Processes

ArcelorMittal needed help to optimize blast furnace fuel utilization and campaign life; increase energy efficiency of the billet reheat furnace; and improve uniformity of strip heating. In each case CFD simulation provided valuable insight into the complex heat transfer and fluid flow phenomenon occurring in these processes, leading to significant process improvements. ArcelorMittal also discovered process development time could be shrunk in half or more by using such technologies. The company found that advanced simulation and 3D VR avoided costly mistakes, such as an improperly designed furnace being built for manufacturing carbon anodes. Construction was halted until the redesign was finalized.

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Operational simulation model of the raw material handling in an integrated steel making plant

This article is focused on the design and implementation of an operational simulation model (OSM) of the handling of raw material in an integrated steel making plant, considering operations of receiving, unloading, stocking, handling and supplying the different raw materials related to the production process with an operational perspective. The aim of this focus is to help in the decision making of the team controlling the inventory.

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Anglo American Thermal Coal: Technical Solutions Simulation of trucking operation

A simulation model was constructed in order to create a realistic high-level representation of the logistics value chain with the purpose of enhancing, by means of animation, the understanding of the interaction of the different process interdependencies and determine the worst case scenario.

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Maintenance framework to address the interaction of components using simulation

Simulation technique is used in the maintenance management of a complex system. The model considers the most important interaction between the components in a production chain: the lack of material feed and the blockage states. Both occur as a result of corrective maintenance (generated randomly) and preventive maintenance (scheduled) activities. The purpose of the model is to provide the visibility of the system, measuring performance in terms of productivity, identifying bottlenecks generated by the maintenance schedule and identifying policies which deliver the best production rate and higher service level.

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Increasing the strategic value of kinetic and dynamic data through unified modelling, higher productivity, and regulatory compliance

Productivity in clinical development continues to decline, and the inability to increase efficiency has resulted in a pipeline, which is impeded. Some of the causes of this problem are the following:

  • Inefficient decision making processes (lack of information, decision not based on quantitative inputs, focus on the wrong areas, loss of knowledge due to changes in staff and assignments, inability to capture information)
  • Lack of efficient utilization of technology

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Modelling & Simulation department

The Modelling & Simulation department at Novartis Pharma AG supports the optimal development of therapeutic drugs through the application of mathematical models. Principles of biology, pharmacology, and statistics are integrated in order to explain and to predict the quantitative consequences of decisions. Novartis M&S has very strong experience in model development, development of computational tools for simulation and analysis, and the application of models and their simulation across the complete drug discovery and development process.

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Role of modelling and simulation in phase in drug development

Modelling & simulation fulfils an important role in reshaping the early trials of drug development by more effective extraction of information from studies, better integration of knowledge across studies and more precise predictions of trial outcome, thereby allowing more informed decision making. Modelling may enable the pharmaceutical industry to move into patient studies faster and safely. Already standard in other knowledge-based industries, computer simulation is increasingly being used to aid clinical trial development.

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Production simulation and process optimization make Ineos Köln one of the most effective petrochemical sites

Ineos conducted a pilot study to simulate part of several chemical production processes in order to compute the day-to-day production and stock levels, and transport needs, for the coming two years, in a reasonable amount of time. The link between the simulation model and the central SQL database server ensures that new inputs are retrieved and the simulation results are forwarded for action. With the combination of simulation, SQL Server, and SAP, a complete and transparent overview of the past, actual, and future production rates and stock levels is available. As a result, anyone within the entire INEOS organization can access all the information related to production at INEOS Köln. After implementing the AIMMS-based DISPO system, INEOS Köln has become one of the most effective petrochemical sites. Bottlenecks are foreseen at an early stage, allowing INEOS to take appropriate preventive actions, and enabling INEOS to avoid, or at least minimize, losses in utilization.

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Virtual commissioning in practice

BASF is currently conducting a pilot project together with Siemens to make the vision of virtual commissioning of a process plant a reality. In the virtual commissioning pilot project, BASF is now testing an automation application in a virtual plant, which maps plant behaviour with the help of a simplified process model simulation environment. By doing so, the process could be tested intensively, both during normal operation and also, to some extent, in exceptional situations. It will help to detect errors early in the implementation of automation logic with consequent increase productivity and return on investment.

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AkzoNobel uses Assima technology to train over 100,000 employees and customers quickly and cost-effectively on its new paint-mixing application

In this case study AzkoNobel was dealing with a problem concerning the industrial coatings and paint used by manufacturers, engineering firms and automotive repair shops. For all these businesses, the ability to identify, match and order the right colour tones for specific products is critical. With the goal of enhancing relationships with thousands of existing customers and winning new market share, global chemical, paint and industrial coating leader AzkoNobel, developed and launched a new version of its professional paint mixing application, Mixit Pro.

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Energy management specialist streamlines product development process using a system simulation approach

Schneider Electric has been using simulation tools for a long time. The company has well-established solutions for each specific physical domain. Taken individually, each kind of simulation software helped the company to solve issues. However, Schneider Electric recognized that they needed a standard tool covering all domains to support them in:

  • Making the product synthesis with different physical couplings
  • Evaluating the impact of a design choice on the overall system
  • Comparing the efficiency of different design architectures
  • Recording all engineering knowledge gained during the design phase
  • Rapidly evaluating evolving demands for product features

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Liquids pipeline leak detection and simulation training

A computational pipeline monitoring (CPM) system uses real-time information from the field – such as pressure, temperature, viscosity, density, flow rate, product sonic velocity and product interface locations – to estimate the hydraulic behaviour of the product being transported and create a computerized simulation. Computerized simulation has demonstrated to provide more comprehensive and effective training for a specific pipeline than on-the-job training. Indeed, training simulations are recognized as one of the best tools to maintain appropriate knowledge and skills for a specific pipeline. A simulator provides a repeatable, unbiased assessment of all controllers’ skills and abilities and can be a highly valuable part of a comprehensive controller training/qualification program for not only leak detection procedures and practices but also other loss preventions systems.

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Impact of Oil and Gas pipeline simulators on controller training and regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance is an expensive and critical business issue for oil and gas pipeline operators. Any approach that expedites compliance efforts saves time and money and also improves safety. Computer-based simulators are seen by regulatory agencies as an effective tool for operators, and can help expedite regulatory compliance. This paper examines a range of simulator types and offers guidance for how controllers can be trained using such tools.

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Liquids Pipeline Solutions

Schneider Electric SimSuite Pipeline is a transient pipeline modelling and simulation system for gas and liquids pipelines. It is the most technologically advanced and dependable pipeline simulation system in the industry. Schneider Electric SimSuite optimizes management of your pipeline operations for greater efficiency, effectiveness and an improved bottom line. In a virtual world, it can be proven that your pump stations, compressor stations, injection/ delivery stations, tank farms, valves and control logic work flawlessly before the real world puts them to the test.

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Simulation project for a new distribution centre of Philips

The goal of this simulation project was in the first place to validate the already performed calculations on the required number of reach trucks and order pick trucks. In the second place what- if scenarios where defined to identify possible bottlenecks situations. Furthermore Philips Lighting wanted to have a 3D representation of the warehouse to use as a reference material and educational purposes.

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GridView – Modelling to predict economic value

GridView is a powerful energy market simulation and analysis tool designed to deal with the most challenging issues facing decision makers in the electric energy industry today. It uses state-of-the-art modeling technology to simulate security constrained unit commitment and economic dispatch in large-scale transmission networks. It produces unit commitments and economic dispatches that respect the physical laws of power flow and transmission reliability requirements. Therefore, GridView coupled with graphic interface and easy-to-use system makes it a unique analytical tool for decision-making.

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Operator Training Simulator

A key to the successful operation of a highly complex high voltage transmission network is a control center staff having both knowledge and experience in its operation. The Operator Training Simulator (OTS) is the modern tool to achieve that goal. Training of operators has become an increasingly important requirement in the implementation and continued operation of Control Centers.

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Increased efficiency through digital planning

Simulation has been used to increase the efficiency of vehicle body production planning and achieve increased planning requirements without adding staff. This allows planners to drag-and-drop a robot into a planning scenario where it is seen immediately within the 3D plant layout, in a faster and more transparent manner. Digital tools make possible the implementation of many optimization tools, which in turn leads to more precise data models. The study has shown that computer-simulated production planning reduced costs permit optimal use of resources and minimized problems at start-up.

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Moving toward digital manufacturing

The purpose of SEAT was to increase the efficiency through the New Product Development process in order to reduce time-to-market and improve speed and clarity of data access. The usage of digital manufacturing computer-based simulation allowed to reach these targets and to minimize development time.

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Optimization of layout using discrete event simulation

The aim of this project was to create space for a new project by merging production lines Daimler and VW group into a common line. By doing so, a simulation model was compiled in order to confirm the accuracy of evaluation of variants using the multi-criteria method. The advantage of simulations is that it is possible to try many variants of space arrangement without real movement of machines, and when the best variant is found, it is possible to start the real project.

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Changing production requirements are handled easily with digital factory software

The purpose of this study was to achieve a greater manufacturing flexibility and to optimize material flows during situations of frequent product alterations and quantity changes. As a result, digital material flow simulation allowed to acquire these objectives by making what-if simulations to compare alternate production line scenarios.

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Process planning tools support Volvo Cars’ expansion to Asia Pacific region

Engineering simulation plays a central role whenever an automotive company decide either to increase production line flexibility to support multiple car models or even for revisiting engineering processes to support operations and deliver innovative products. In this case, Volvo was able to meet these challenges because of its engineers’ high level of expertise, employing a Process Simulate tool and using its offline programming and realistic robot simulation capabilities. By doing so, the company is able to generate very accurate robot programs that require only slight modifications on the shop floor.

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Volvo uses witness to optimise efficiency and productivity in gent plant

In order to maintain, and continuously improve upon its credentials for efficiency and quality in manufacturing, Volvo relies upon simulation technology. Simulation supports major business decisions through mapping out scenarios in a virtual environment. In taking this approach, Volvo’s Gent plant can build business cases and de-risk decisions prior to investment being committed.

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SimPlan optimizations supports Volkswagen Slovakia A:G within a project about digital factory

The study encompasses all the stages within the welding process at Volkswagen. Simulation is of paramount importance in such a process because enables to previously detect and eliminate problems that otherwise would have required costly and time consuming correction measures during commissioning; to minimize the investments, optimize and make robust complex systems with many parameters. With this purpose, there has been used a simulation-based software which has the main features Process Designer, Process Simulation Spot and Plant Simulation.

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July 2014
Role of simulations in the process from design to production

The role of simulation in the automotive-based manufacturing is emphasized by the following examples:

  • Application of simulation driven design in the dashboard development of the VW Polo
  • Analysis of product performance using simulations
  • Automatic and structured design optimization in product development
  • Virtual testing of interior design VW Polo

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Entire vehicle in the product development

BMW has developed an entire vehicle simulation model to understand and improve energy flows in the vehicle. A model structure has been derived from this objective and implemented in a suitable simulation environment. The modular structure of the vehicle model makes it easy to implement subsystems with different levels of detail. Vehicle simulation enables energy analysis to be performed in all development phases. It allows complex problems and interactions in the vehicle to be understood, analysed and solved. In this way, the energy flows can be optimised and the fuel consumption can be lowered. Thus, vehicle simulation is an important tool in the product development.

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Simulating FAB Business Improvement at BAE Systems

BAE Systems used simulation software (Witness from Lanner) to improve production of advanced imaging devices at its semiconductor manufacturing facility. Witness has been integral to a business improvement programme that has halved product cycle times and increased capacity of some processes by more than 50%. As a result, the company has reduced the overall cycle-time from 90 to 35 days, increased by 60% the capacity of the ceramic stages. Furthermore, the simulation helped to remove bottlenecks and therefore to identify which machines could be optimized.

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Airbus speed CAD design with witness

Simulation was used to provide more than traditional “what if” simulation. An evolving sequence of models was built to optimise the layout and operation of the proposed plant. The software was used in effect as an animated event-based CAD tool, and the contractor’s working drawings were derived directly from the final model.

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Training simulation of the manipulator vehicle tEODor for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD)

The simulation of manipulator vehicles is a challenge in the field of EOD and IED disposal training. The focus in such vehicle simulations is to reproduce the behaviour of the vehicle in terms of control and movement and also to simulate interactions with the environment in order to prepare the user for real operations. In this contribution an approach has been presented to ensure the quality of the implemented robot simulation for IED disposal training purposes. It could be shown that the simulation behaviour and the real performance of the robot have a very strong correlation.

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EADS Astrium Satellites UK - Taking satellite development to new heights

In this case study much simulation software of Siemens has been used in order to reduce the satellite development lead-time, which is usually one year including 6 months of simulation. Modelling is key to the high standards of quality demanded for space applications, the cost efficiency required by customers and the timely delivery they expect. Therefore, Astrium uses Femap (simulation software of Siemens) extensively for the iterative process of creating, checking and viewing models, processing model results and exploring alternatives in order to achieve concurrent engineering with the purpose of reducing the time by half.

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Vortex Drives EADS robot simulator for the Belgian army

This study analyses the realization of a 3D-simulator for training conditions with Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) robots. EOD robots perform essential but very difficult work. They are very expensive to build and a challenge to operate in these conditions, posing many training issues. Thanks to the simulation capabilities the Airbus Group accelerated development, exceeded requirements, and delivered a superb training solution.

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The Virtual Factory - Witness Models Munitions Facility for BAE Systems

In this study a simulation software was used at the project’s inception in order to determine initial unit costs, the likely effectiveness and form of the processes to be used, the requirements for capacity and customer demand, the possible time pressures and resource limitations and the breadth and volume of materials to be used, and for all points it proved extremely useful in supporting the initial capital investment proposals.

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December 2013
Application for Simulation Technologies in Driver Control Simulation

As it happens in every business, it is crucial to save both time and money in each project development. To realize this, Dallara developed its own technologies, and in the pursuit of excellence, the company has been pushing towards a Global Virtualization path. The intensive uses of super-computer and 3D software have become central in Dallara’s design process, and now allow a car to be driven before it has even been built. The first simulator is located in Varano plant, another installation is planned for 2014 in Indianapolis plant. The simulator offers to engineers, race team and drivers the possibility of setting-up vehicle development, data analysis and driver coaching.

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November 2013
Application of Simulation Technologies for the Optimization of a Shoe Production Plant

A shoemaker belongs to a group competing globally in the premium and luxury segment of the apparel market was interested in optimizing the performance of a production plant. The production system was a flexible one producing up to 13 different styles concurrently, resulting in a maximum of 11 different production sequences. The production process has almost 40 different operations, grouped in work islands, and trolleys were used to move shoes between them. Approximately 70 operators were allocated to the production system. The production plant can work on more than 100 shoe variants, each one different in production routing and/or cycle times for operations. The analysis aimed at improving performance was to be made when the global competition in this industry was already eroding margins and to remain competitive meant to strive for a more and more efficient production, whilst offering a higher variety to customers.

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Application for Simulation Technologies in different phases of the lifecycle of structural steel production plants

One of the main businesses of the company is the design, fabrication and delivery of complete steel production plant design. These plants are delivered on an engineered to order basis and the investments can range from 2-30 Mio. €. Traditionally, the sales department presented the proposed layouts on printed paper, providing rough estimation of the final plant productivity based on the productivity of the single machines. What lacked in this estimation were the evaluation of machine buffers saturation and the forecasting of possible inefficiencies in part dispatching through the plant. Two pilot cases were selected and a simulation model of both the plants was commissioned TTS. The simulation models were realized with Rockwell Arena and were able to use a real production plans (provided by the final customer as input), and provided some KPI such productivity, machine saturation, wipe and buffer saturation. The models were also enriched by a graphical animation of the plant, which was used to present the whole project to the customer and increased the effectiveness of the presentation. Both the plants were sold, paving the way for future endeavors.

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Application for Simulation Technologies in a Production Process in the Manufacturing Industry

The scenario describes a production process in the manufacturing industry. A production line produces limited numbers of products adapted to individual customer needs. Within the line, different kinds of self-organizing sensor-actuator networks are controlled by pneumatic interfaces. The system pressure value has been set much higher than the required minimum pressure, to guarantee the manufacturing of each product which means to guarantee cases of maximum pressure losses for really highly customized and complex products. The pressure regulation follows on each production process to reach again the regular, defined system pressure value.
Although compressed air is a clean resource, its production costs a lot of energy and isn’t economical. This problem should be tackled. The objective must be to significant increase the energy efficiency of pneumatic control systems within this described production process.

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Application for Simulation Technologies in a Food Factory for Packing Meat and Fish

Among the different processes and activities present in the company, the focus of the work carried out was on the canning process of the tuna fish. The final objective was to reduce the machines in the production process maintaining the same level of output, introducing some constraints in the production mix and production plans.
In particular, the company wanted to simulate the production process of 33000 large baskets of semi-finished goods halving the autoclaves. A simulation tool has been used in order to simulate the new production process and fix the necessary constraints to reach the production level.

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Application for Simulation Technologies in an Ice Cold Merchandiser's Manufacturing Case

Frigoglass produces more than ten different models of ICMs using a batch manufacturing technique. The main types of manufacturing processes used for ICMs are: steel sheet forming, painting and assembly operations. The aforementioned types are further specified in seven manufacturing operations including, forming, subassembly, insulation, cooling mechanism subassembly, electrical mechanism subassembly, door’s subassembly and final assembly. After the raw materials and components are delivered by the suppliers to Frigoglass, each ICM model undergoes though a sequence of these series of manufacturing operations assigned to a limited number of production resources, following varied process plans according to its particularities. The lot sizes are in most cases fluctuating and fast decisions are of crucial importance.

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