Production Planning Software and Industry 4.0

The latest era of industrial revolution – Industry 4.0 connects and revolutionizes various aspects of the industry including manufacturing processes as well as business processes such as supply chain. The increasing demand of customized product from the customer end is a major driving theme of this transformation in the industry. The traditional processes are highly efficient for batch production and low cost scaling in bulk manufacturing but are relatively time consuming inefficient for manufacturing customized products. Similar is the case for the business processes and models that being used around this manufacturing style. There is need of new production planning style which can simulate the costs, efficiency and resource requirements in real time for any product for mass customization.Industry 4.0 uses Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT) to introduce technological and human improvements, which ultimately results in enhanced productivity, product quality with reduced manufacturing time and product price. Hence, the requirement of an advanced production planning and scheduling scheme becomes paramount. In this article,we will discuss how production planning can be implemented in Industry 4.0 and the ways in which it will help manufacturers of any and every product to adapt easily to customer demands and transition smoothly into the upcoming industrial economy.

Industry 4.0 brings along the requirement of new process and production planning where most of the working environment is automatized and the data recorded is processed using fog computing, on-premise clouds or cloud computing servers. Machine to Machine communication is expected to increase more than ever. These changes raise some critical questions and concerns regarding the manufacturing and planning processes:

  • Is it possible to completely automatize production planning using CPS and IoT?
  • Can human knowledge be translated into future products?

The role of Production Planning Software in Industry 4.0 will be to address these concerns effectively and ensure that the decision making processes involved in process selection, resource allocation, operation sequence and scheduling and sufficiently automatized with knowledge importer from previous processes. This should then result in the modeling of the future product including customer based customization demands as well.

Traditional process planning being used in many industries presently is completely based only on the knowledge and experience of the individual or team working on the system. The people working on the systems are technology experts from experience rather than knowledge. The existing demand for change to the new technology solutions can be a big transition for such individuals. This might slow down the progress of these industries, especially SMEs which are slower in the adaptation process. Hence, it is important for each industry to build their own strategy to implement Industry 4.0.

All the manufacturing resources in the industry are now connected to data and information exchange enabling better quality and process control. Scheduling of the product manufacturing and supply chain are being solved by using dynamic scheduling with the help of Structure Dynamics Control (SDC). Data and knowledge is transformed to software that makes a decision based on the technical specification of the order and available material combinations. This type of process planning has been adopted completely in very few industrial processes such as welding.It is still a challenge for many manufacturers to figure out what would be the optimal technique if an industry manufactures various products with different set of technologies. Also, the scaling of this single technology-single product scheme( e.g. welding) might not be easy on multiple types of products. Visualization of the process and predetermining the resource requirements will become more important. Simulation of the complete Production Planning using real time data can be an effective solution to this problem.Let us see how a product planning software can make the manufacturing process ’smarter’.

”Smart products” enable an industry to include information about customization demands of the consumer,collect feedback which can then be used in knowledge databases used in the various phases product design, development and manufacturing process. These include process planning, operation sequencing and scheduling. The collaboration of various product parameters and consumer needs in each stage of product development cycle allows the manufacturer to continuously improve the product quality and optimize the manufacturing costs effectively in real time. This results in an overall better product from both consumer and manufacturer’s point of view. Product Planning Software enable this whole cycle managing various processes starting from material selection, shape, geometry, operation priority, time of operation, machine cost and avail- ability and many more. The Product Planning can also be linked to the ERP( Enterprise Resource Planning Software) in the cloud to include insights and data to other parts of product lifecycle resulting in a better product with every iteration.

A good production planning software that automatizes the various tasks of the product development cycle is a must for mass customization and improved efficiency in Industry 4.0. Thus, it can be easily concluded that a good Planning Production Software will form a critical building block of the industry in Industry 4.0.

The Evolution of the Industrial Ages: Industry 1.0 to 4.0

The modern industry has seen great advances since its earliest iteration at the beginning of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. For centuries, most of the goods including weapons, tools, food, clothing and housing, were manufactured by hand or by using work animals. This changed in the end of the 18th century with the introduction of manufacturing processes. The progress from Industry 1.0 was then rapid uphill climb leading up to to the upcoming industrial era – Industry 4.0. Here we discuss the overview of this evolution.

Industry 1.0 The late 18th century introduced mechanical production facilities to the world. Water and steam powered machines were developed to help workers in the mass production of goods. The first weaving loom was introduced in 1784. With the increase in production efficiency and scale, small businesses grew from serving a limited number of customers to large organizations with owners, manager and employees serving a larger number. Industry 1.0 can also be deemed as the beginning of the industry culture which focused equally on quality, efficiency and scale.

Industry 2.0 The beginning of 20th century marked the start of the second industrial revolution – Industry 2.0. The main contributor to this revolution was the development of machines running on electrical energy. Electrical energy was already being used as a primary source of power. Electrical ma- chines were more efficient to operate and maintain, both in terms of cost and effort unlike the water and steam based machines which were comparatively inefficient and resource hungry. The first assembly line was also built during this era, further streamlining the process of mass production. Mass production of goods using assembly line became a standard practice.

This era also saw the evolution of the industry culture introduced in Industry 1.0 into management program to enhance the efficiency of manufacturing facilities. Various production management techniques such as division of labor, just-in-time manufacturing and lean manufacturing principles refined the underlying processes leading to improved quality and output. American mechanical engineer Fredrick Taylor introduced the study of approached to optimize worker, workplace techniques and optimal allocation of resources.

Industry 3.0 The next industrial revolution resulting in Industry 3.0 was brought about and spurred by the advances in the electronics industry in the last few decades of the 20th century. The invention and manufacturing of a variety electronic devices including transistor and integrated circuits auto- mated the machines substantially which resulted in reduced effort ,increased speed, greater accuracy and even complete replacement of the human agent in some cases. Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), which was first built in 1960s was one of the landmark invention that signified automation using electronics. The integration of electronics hardware into the manufacturing systems also created a requirement of software systems to enable these electronic devices, consequentially fueling the software development market as well. Apart from controlling the hardware, the software systems also enabled many management processes such as enterprise resource planning, inventory management, shipping logistics, product flow scheduling and tracking throughout the factory. The entire industry was further automated using electronics and IT. The automation processes and software systems have continuously evolved with the advances in the electronics and IT industry since then. The pressure to further reduce costs forced many manufacturers to move to low-cost countries. The dispersion of geographical location of manufacturing led to the formation of the concept of Supply Chain Management.

Industry 4.0 The boom in the Internet and telecommunication industry in the 1990’s revolutionized the way we connected and exchanged information. It also resulted in paradigm changes in the manufacturing industry and traditional production operations merging the boundaries of the physical and the virtual world. Cyber Physical Systems (CPSs) have further blurred this boundary resulting in numerous rapid technological disruptions in the industry. CPSs allow the machines to communicate more intelligently with each other with almost no physical or geographical barriers.

The Industry 4.0 using Cyber Physical Systems to share, analyze and guide intelligent actions for various processes in the industry to make the machines smarter. These smart machines can continuously monitor,detect and predict faults to suggest preventive measures and remedial action. This allows better preparedness and lower downtime for industries. The same dynamic approach can be translated to other aspects in the industry such as logistics, production scheduling, optimization of throughput times, quality control, capacity utilization and efficiency boosting. CPPs also allow an industry to be completely virtually visualized, monitored and managed from a remote location and thus adding a new dimension to the manufacturing process. It puts machines,people, processes and infrastructure into a single networked loop making the overall management highly efficient.

As the technology-cost curve becomes steeper everyday, more and more rapid technology disruptions will emerge at even lower costs and revolutionize the industrial ecosystem. Industry 4.0 is still at a nascent stage and the industries are still in the transition state of adoption of the new systems.Industries must adopt the new systems as fast as possible to stay relevant and profitable. Industry 4.0 is here and it is here to stay, at least for the next decade.

Simio Partner Finalist in Franz Edelman Award

The prestigious Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences was presented at the Edelman Gala on April 16th, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Franz Edelman competition honors distinction in the practice of Operations Research and Analytics, by both individuals and companies, with emphasis on the beneficial impact of their achievements.

To reach the finals, companies are required to demonstrate how their use of technology is transforming the approach to some of the world’s most complex problems.

Simio is proud to be the provider of the simulation that facilitated one of this year’s finalists, Europcar, through our partner, ACT Operations Research (ACTOR). Our combined technologies have been used to develop Opticar which provides forecasting, simulation and optimization of the processes relating to vehicle rental for the leading European car rental company.

Simulation for Decision Making

The vehicle rental industry is a huge, complex, constantly changing market, with cultural variations across countries. In order to meet dynamic demand, decisions are continuously made regarding fleet assets, their locations, usage and pricing. The combination of AI, statistical modeling and simulation allows all eventualities to be considered and evaluated in order to establish optimum processes and make informed decisions.

Simulation can be used to model the possibilities with respect to both capacity and revenue, helping managers of car rental companies to reduce their risks in terms of planning for optimal fleet saturation. By making quality decisions, they can constantly maximize business opportunity for the company and ensure consistent financial and service performances.

At Simio, we are constantly solving business problems of this kind through simulation. When complex system schedules and decisions are required, we deliver leading edge solutions across many industries, from manufacturing to transportation and logistics.

Simio is proud to congratulate our partner ACTOR, with Europcar, on their outstanding achievement of becoming a Franz Edelman Award finalist.

Not Just Another Industrial Revolution

As we experience this exciting time in history, the 4th Industrial Revolution is happening all around us, without most people even knowing about it. Massive leaps forward are being made possible by the digital platform that the whole world is adopting.

But how did we get so far in the relatively short time of 200 years – in the span of a few generations?

It was only in the final years of the 18th century that the 1st Industrial Revolution began when steam power changed how things were made and transported. The invention and refinement of the steam engine and the use of hydraulic power enabled the economy to develop, and allowed people to move forward and experience growth and travel.

100 years later, in the 2nd Industrial Revolution, electricity facilitated assembly lines and mass production, sparking the consumer age and creating further opportunity for innovation and discovery.

The momentum continued when, at the beginning of the 1960s and throughout the 3rd Industrial Revolution, computing allowed machines and networks to spread to homes, schools, universities and workplaces, developing the potential for study and the exchange of ideas, promoting further advancement.

Each subsequent decade brought significant progress; semiconductors and mainframe computers in the 1960s, personal computers in the 1970s and 1980s and the internet in the 1990s.

The 4th Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, is upon us in this 21st century as we build even further on that foundation, with the potential to achieve exponential growth in what we are able to attain. Reaching across disciplines, we are now transferring technology between the physical, digital and biological domains.

Change is happening faster and new developments are spreading more quickly than ever. Cyber-physical systems are melding the physical and virtual worlds, using simulation and virtual reality and even creating Digital Twins.

All of this allows us to study and understand the world we are creating, speed up the design process and predict behavior, in order to boost productivity and prevent disaster.

In this way, simulation and scheduling software is an important part of our latest Industrial revolution, sitting comfortably alongside the other enablers:

Additive Manufacturing

Augmented Reality

Autonomous Robots

Big Data

Cloud Computing

Cyber Security

System Itegration

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The perfect tool for the Smart Factory, Simio Simulation Software helps capitalize on the Industrial Revolution that is happening around us; improving agility, increasing productivity and mitigating risk as the next stages in the process of disruptive change unfold in our exciting new digital age.

Contact Simio today to speak with our Engineers about the Simio advantage:

1-412-528-1576  inquiries@simio.com

Take advantage of our fantastic Simio Training offer.

For a limited time only, we are offering a $2,000 training voucher with every Simio software license purchased.*

What you will receive:

$2,000 Credit towards Simio Standard Training

You can also use your voucher towards one of our Simio online Paid Certification Programs or for books or publications available to help you learn Simio faster.

The Benefits of Simio Training

Learning from our experienced trainers, Simio Simulation and Scheduling Software allows you to:

  • explore the capabilities and advantages of Simio software
  • update your skills to the latest in simulation technology
  • learn using examples relevant to your own application

Simio’s professional trainers customize the course for you, in order to make the most of the learning opportunity. All printed course material is included, as well as the necessary access to Simio software.

There is Simio training can be with Simio, any participating partner or on-site:

 

4-Day Training

Taking it further, this training develops competence by using specific, relevant examples for the model data and scenarios and focusing on the interpretation of results.  It also includes many tips on how to fast track your simulation projects and ensure their success.

Call Us Now to claim your $2,000 Training Voucher and find the right Simio training for your needs: 1-877-297-4646(Toll Free) or Direct 1-412-528-1576

* Terms & Conditions of offer:

Purchase must be a perpetual license of the Design Edition, or higher.

Payment or PO must be received before December 31st, 2017.

Voucher value is $2,000 US Dollars and expires October 31st, 2018.

No other discounts apply to the license purchase which must be for commercial use.

Offer ends 31 December, 2017.

Optimizing the Smart Factory

In the same way that a product development involves prototyping, the production process for manufacturing that product should also be optimized for maximum efficiency and productivity.Discrete Event Simulation (DES) software approximates the manufacturing process into individual events, so can be used to model each step in manufacturing process for overall performance optimization.

The IT innovations of Industry 4.0 allow data collected from its digitalized component systems in the Smart factory to be used to simulate the whole production line using Discrete Event Simulation software.

Real time information on inventory levels, component histories, transport, logistics and much more can be fed into the model, developing different plans and schedules through simulation. In this way, alternative sources of supply or production deviations can be evaluated against each other while minimizing potential loss and disruption.

When change happens, be it a simple stock out or equipment breakdown or an unexpected natural disaster on a huge scale, Discrete Event Simulation software can produce models showing how downstream services will be affected and the impact on production. Revised courses of action can then be assessed and a solution implemented.

The benefits of using Discrete Event Simulation software to schedule and reduce risk in an Industry 4.0 environment include assuring consistent production where costs are controlled and quality is maintained under any set of circumstances.

Scheduling in the Industry 4.0

Today started badly.

As soon as I hopped into my car, the GPS system was flashing red to show queues of stationary traffic on my regular route to the office. Thankfully, the alternative offered allowed me to arrive on time and keep my scheduled appointments.

In the same way as a GPS combines live traffic data with an accurate map of the city, Simio Software connects real time data sources with a modeled production situation. Just like a GPS, Simio can also impose rules, make decisions, schedule and reschedule.

The major difference is in the scale.

Simio Simulation and Scheduling Software can model entire factories, holding huge quantities of detailed data about each resource, component and material. It leverages big data analysis to run thousands of permutations of scenarios, finding the optimum outcomes for specific circumstances. Lightning fast, it can detect and respond to changes with suggestions that will keep everything flowing in the best possible way.

Thank goodness for Simio, because Industry 4.0 is here.

Smart Factories employ fully integrated and connected equipment and people, each providing real time feedback about their state. Data is constantly collected on each product component, for process monitoring and control. Every aspect of the entire operation is managed through its associated specifications and status data. This large, constant stream of information coming from a known factory configuration can be received, stored, processed and reported upon by the powerful Simio software.

With Industry 4.0, nothing is left to chance. Everything is monitored and optimized, and performance is predicted, measured, improved and adapted on an ongoing basis. Management of so many interconnected components requires a scheduling system that is specifically designed to operate in this dynamic data environment. Simio Production Scheduling Software can be relied upon to provide the integrated solution for enabling technology in the Smart Factories of the future.

We are already seeing a rise in robotics and the increasing digitalization of the manufacturing industry under the effects of Industry 4.0. Soon all components of the factory model will be interconnected, just like my future driverless car that will communicate directly with my GPS to take the best route using current traffic information.

All I will have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

Simio Presents the 2017 User Group Meeting

Simio is pleased to announce the 1st Annual Simio User Group Meeting, scheduled for May 24-25, 2017, in Pittsburgh, PA. This meeting will be very interactive and informative for current or future users of Simio’s simulation and scheduling software.

The meeting will be held at the Drury Plaza Hotel Pittsburgh Downtown, which is a brand new hotel built in the historic Federal Reserve Bank building.

Who Can Attend?

Anyone currently using Simio’s simulation and scheduling software for any industry is invited to attend. Alternatively, if your company is considering using Simio software, we invite you to attend, as well, to gather more information about the product and how it can help you.

What to Expect

This meeting will be jam-packed with great presentations, advanced learning seminars and outstanding networking opportunities with Simio users and employees. With your registration, you will also receive meals, a book including all of the papers presented at the meeting for both days, and a special Pittsburgh themed gift!

There will be plenty of information to go around, so if you’ve invested in Simio, you won’t want to miss this event. You’ll be able to see real user experiences and get some great feedback on how to better utilize the software to generate even greater results.

Information for Presenters

If you currently use Simio software and would like to present a paper at the User Group Meeting, we’d love to hear from you.

All the paper needs is the following information:

  • A brief overview of your company
  • Why you chose Simio
  • The approach used in Simio
  • Results achieved by using Simio

Pricing Information

A block of rooms are reserved. However, in order to receive the discounted rate to the hotel, you must book your room on or prior to April 20, 2017. The prices for the event itself are:

  • Early Registration (before April 14, 2017) – $50 for attendees, $40 for presenters
  • Open Registration (before May 12, 2017) – $60 for attendees
  • Late Registration – $100 for attendees

Note: All presenters must be registered by April 14, 2017.

We encourage you to attend this event so you can learn more about Simio success stories. Be sure to sign up today to secure the early registration rate.

Hope to see you there!

Eric Howard

VP of Marketing

Why Daily Plans Fail

At 6:00 Monday morning I create a plan for my day starting at 7:00. That doesn’t seem to be such a difficult task. Why is it that by 7:30 my plan already shows signs of being hopeless?

I’ve done the obvious things. First I upgraded from a magnetic Gantt chart based on hand-written information to Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) software. That was much easier to use, but frankly the results didn’t dramatically improve. Feeding it with live data from my Manufacturing Execution System (MES) got me a good starting point, with a lot less effort than the paper approach, but my plan still didn’t hold up to the test of time.

I then realized that my software was based on standard lead times and it assumed infinite capacity — it was constantly overestimating my production capability. So I updated to Finite Capacity Scheduling (FCS) software. That helped a lot. But I still had a lot of problems because the FCS tool was based on a “standard” data model for my industry. I guess we do things a bit different than most people in our industry, but the schedule it generates doesn’t recognize those differences.

So I updated to a general purpose simulation product with the flexibility to model my system as it really is AND generate the Gantt charts and other reports I need for scheduling. So now I can account for that problem aisle where my lift trucks get so congested. And I can account for that machine cluster that shares access to a single crane. As a bonus I also got an animation that lets me “play out” the day and visually see what I can expect.

Now I have a much better plan that is realistic and accurate as long as everything goes well. But it is always optimistic. While I can put in preventative maintenance, there is no way to factor in that my Cobalt 120 machine is 30 years old and breaks down almost every day. Or that my supplier for Jenkins 257 material is often way behind their promised delivery. I can pad the schedule to allow extra time, but that just guarantees that I will waste valuable production time when things go well.

In my simulation tool I can run my model with all that variability accounted for (stochastic analysis) and it gives me good long-term capacity analysis. But since there is no way to predict a specific “random” problem, like an equipment failure, I can’t use that knowledge in generating my plan for today — I am limited to a deterministic schedule … or am I?

Actually there is a new technique available called Risk-based Planning and Scheduling (RPS) that first generates a deterministic plan, then applies a stochastic analysis to that plan. It actually tells me how likely it is that I will meet the plan. For example, orders that require the Cobalt 120 machine or Jenkins 257 material may show a high risk of not completing on time. Since I know this before the shift starts, I have more options on how to deal with it – like adjusting labor assignments, rerouting a process, or expediting a material. I can even evaluate the various alternatives to determine which one performs best, and then base my plan on the alternative that generates an acceptable risk at the lowest cost.

Now that’s a plan I can live with!

Happy Modeling!
Dave Sturrock, VP Operations, Simio LLC

Simulation – What a Bother!

I don’t know why so many people waste so much time using simulation. I just ask Joe. Joe has worked here for 38 years and he’s seen it all. Joe is always willing to take the time to tell me how that proposed system or new process will work, because he knows how well it worked or didn’t work the last time we tried something similar.

Yea, things may be different now, but the technology is about the same right? And our supply chain isn’t changing. And customer demands are the same as they were 20 years ago. And Joe’s not going anywhere … I’m sure that rumor about Joe retiring next year is just a rumor – he wouldn’t leave us hanging like that.

Well if Joe does leave I’ll just use spreadsheets. I’m pretty good at Excel. I even know how to link multiple worksheets together and get totals, averages and even charts. So I can certainly capture enough of the details to predict system performance. There isn’t that much interaction between different system components. I can figure out how to deal with seasonal variation in a spreadsheet. Our equipment, suppliers, and people are pretty reliable so there is no reason I should have to deal with things like equipment downtime, late materials, and no-shows – they probably don’t have much impact on my system.

If I need to, maybe I can figure out how to use analytical techniques like queueing theory or linear programming. After all, there is nothing complex about my system. And someone once told me that queueing theory is easy if your system is simple enough.

So I’ll let others use simulation to exactly model their complex systems and fully account for variability. Who cares about 3D animation that helps everyone understand the system and better communicate? Not me! I’m not going to bother with any of that simulation stuff.

But hey, if things go wrong and my company goes under, and you happen to see me in the unemployment line, do you think you might bother to offer me a job?

Happy Modeling!
Dave Sturrock
VP Operations, Simio LLC