The use of simulation has established itself as a tool for the planning, controlling and monitoring of processes in the automobile production. Among other things, the latest simulation tools facilitate the detailed modelling of production-related, logistic processes such as the analysis of the production line supply with vendor parts, the isolation of different production areas by establishing storage areas, or various logistic concepts for a fork-lift free factory.
Simulation allows us to deduce statements regarding the productivity and weak spots of the production and to examine planning variants, without interfering with real production processes or initiating complex (reconstruction) works before the benefits and risks have been analysed.
However, the large number of parameters and degrees of freedom for simulation models represents a great challenge for simulation studies. This means that a lot work arises through routine tasks such as the manual adjustment of parameters and the reflection on simulation results, in order to identify process-related, critical situations (e.g. idle times of machines or buffer bottlenecks). This is where the “AssistSim” joint research project comes into play.
The objective of this project is the development of methods and software components for the systematic, simulation-based support of logistic processes in the automotive field. The components to be developed are intended to provide assistance with the planning and conduct of simulation experiments.
The planning assistance is to include all software components that analyse an existing simulation model and provide the user with a selection of analysis procedures. This component shall facilitate the phrasing of hypotheses that are to be analysed (“the purchase of a further machine will result in a production increase of at least 7%”, “by extending the buffer capacity by 3 places before the assembly station, the amount of backlog in the production chain can be reduced by 30%”). Based on the user input, simulation experiments are planned automatically.
The conduct assistance is intended to take over the conduct of the simulation runs (semi-) automatically, to monitor these and to compile the results. For instance, if the question is asked what benefits a greater buffer capacity brings with it, a systematic reflection on different variants in the simulation model is carried out. The interactive user guidance provides the user with up-to-date information on the status of the experiments and on the simulation results.
Within the scope of the Hessen ModellProjekte (Hesse Model Projects) this project (HA project No.: 185/09-15) is funded with capital of the European Union (European Regional Development Fund – ERDF) and with capital of the Federal State of Hesse. SimPlan is the consortium manager of this project.