Release 6, Sprint 107-114

What's New Since July?

This page highlights some of the wealth of new features that have been added in the last few months including new books, enhancements to several library objects, new pedestrian animation features, lots of usability features, seven new SimBits, and much more.

Read on for the details...

Enhanced Documentation

New Book - Planning and Scheduling with Simio
A new Planning and Scheduling with Simio e-book is available under the Support Ribbon Books icon.  This 31 page document introduces Simio’s planning, scheduling, and risk analysis features and walks you through understanding and running the RPSExample model.

New Book - Process Improvement Principles
Process Improvement Principles by Dr. C. Dennis Pegden is targeted at busy managers and therefore is intentionally concise.  It presents a set of process improvement principles that can be applied by managers to improve the design and operation of all types of systems – from manufacturing production to health care and distribution.  Pegden has boiled down his many years of experience solving “production” problems into a concise set of 25 principles targeted at helping to improve the design and operation of these systems.

Standard and Flow Library

Flow Library – Tank, FlowToItemConverter, ItemToFlowConverter to Include Clean In-Place Triggers
We have enhanced the three Flow Library objects that include built in Tank objects (Tank, FlowToItemConverter and ItemToFlowConverter) to include optional event driven triggers that will immediately remove and dispose of any contents held in the tank and then suspend new inflow until a specified cleaning time has elapsed.

In conjunction with these tank based changes, the graphic symbols for new objects placed with an imbedded tank will include the states of the object. Tank, FlowToItemConverter, and ItemToFlowConverter objects will be gray (default) for the Empty (0) state, green for the PartiallyFull (1) and Full(2) states and yellow for the Cleaning (3) state.

Pipe Object Changes
We have updated the new Pipe object within the Flow Library to allow splitting at a FlowNode to multiple Pipe objects.  In the prior sprint 112, there were some issues with this feature, as noted in the Compatibility Notes which have now been addressed.

Separate Object Enhancements
We have enhanced the Separate object to allow specific entities to be unbatched from a parent entity. Two new properties have been added including the Removal Order and the Match Condition.  If the Desired Split Quantity is less than the number of total batch members, the Removal Order will first determine whether the first batch entities or the last batched entities will be removed. Additionally, the Match Condition is an optional expression that can be used to filter the entities. Only the members that match the criteria given by the expression will be split off from the batch.

This is very useful if you have a batch of multiple entity types and would like to unbatch particular entities at various locations. For example, if the batch includes Red, Green and Blue parts, you may use the Match Condition to split off Red parts at one location, Green parts at another location and Blue parts at a third location. 


Pedestrian Movement
In previous releases we introduced ‘animated objects’ that makes people look much more realistic when standing and walking. This includes characteristics like moving their legs while walking and having realistic postures while standing. We have now added a set of features that lets people also move more realistically.  Now entities can use the full width of a defined travel path and even avoid each other in their movements. And you can build in your own movement logic if you want. Refer to the Travel Step description below for more information.

Default Dynamic Label Text
When you go to the External view of an Entity or Transporter and click in the window, you will now see a single property called Default Dynamic Label Text, which is the default value for the Dynamic Label Text property of instances of the object. Dynamic Labels can be turned on and off using the Visibility ribbon buttons.

Floor Label Enhancements - Different Fonts and Proportional/Fixed Buttons for Default Font
You can now select a fixed or proportional font in Floor Labels as well as the specific font. This allows better animation and makes it easier to line up tabular information.

Steps and Elements

Travel Step Enhancements
The Travel step now includes a new property named Steering Behavior to provide additional free space travel options for entities. The option for ‘Direct to Destination’ is the default behavior that the Travel step included previously where you travel to some point (object or coordinates) with some acceleration if desired. Other new options include ‘Follow Network Path’ and ‘Wander’.  ‘Follow Network Path’ requires a starting and ending node. The entity will then follow the shortest path between them in free space, attempting to stay within the boundaries of the links, defined by each link’s Width.  ‘Wander’ simply has the entity wander around endlessly. 

These Steering Rules for the Travel step are implemented in user code – while they have useful behavior, they also serve as a good examples. More advanced users can use the example C# code found in the Examples\UserExtensions folder to implement their own more complex or customized rules. We expect that you will see additional rules supplied by Simio, but you can implement your favorite or customized control behavior yourself, either for competitive advantage or (we hope) to share with the Simio user community.

Routing Group Element Enhancement
We have enhanced the Routing Group element to include a repeating group of Triggering Event Names/Conditions that may be used to cause the re-evaluation of the routing group’s route request queue. There are modeling situations where just listening for station state changes at ‘Input’ nodes is not enough triggering events for the Routing Group to cover all possible selection search scenarios. Per several customer requests, we added this additional selection search to be triggered based on a conditional upstream system event (i.e., number of entities waiting on a path getting larger than 3, etc.).

UnBatch Step Enhancements
We have enhanced the UnBatch step to allow specific entities to be unbatched from a parent entity. Two new properties have been added including the Removal Order and the Match Condition.  Refer to the Separate If the Desired Split Quantity is less than the number of total batch members, the Removal Order will first determine whether the first batch entities or the last batched entities will be removed. Additionally, the Match Condition is an optional expression that can be used to filter the entities. Only the members that match the criteria given by the expression will be split off from the batch.


Size / Location Object Properties in Spreadsheet Editing
Several months ago, we added the Properties Spreadsheet for easy editing of Facility Window objects within a spreadsheet interface. We’ve enhanced this feature to include the Size (Length, Width, Height) and Location (X, Y, Z) under the General/Physical Characteristics section of properties. Node object will not include the Size properties and Links will not have the Length property editable.  This feature is especially useful when a user is trying to line up multiple objects at the same X location line for example, or resize multiple objects to be the same physical size, as copy / paste to multiple cells can easily be done in the spreadsheet interface.

New ‘Area’ and ‘AreaRate’ Unit Types and ‘Long Ton’ Mass/Weight Type
We have added a new unit type for Area including the individual and rate units. This allows state variables, properties, statistics, trace, etc. to be shown in units of area, such as square meters, square kilometers, square centimeters, square inches and more (along with corresponding rate units). Additionally, within the Weight units, we have added Long Tons to the existing Ton and Metric Ton. The British ton is the Long Ton, which is 2240 pounds, and the U.S. Ton is the Short Ton which is 2000 pounds (this is Simio’s Ton).The Metric ton is equal to 1000 kilograms, or approximately 2204 pounds.

Expression Editor Auto-Completion Choice Related Enhancements
We have made some enhancements to the expression editor auto-completer to distinguish statistic type functions from other functions, as well as to provide additional tool tip information. In the expression editor auto-completion choice list, a statistic function choice is now displayed with a different icon than a non-statistic function choice and better described in the mouse tool-tip title text.

Dashboard Reports
We have added the option to Import and/or Export Dashboard Reports. The format is XML. This feature is intended for use when moving dashboards to or from other projects (for parallel development).

Dashboard / Table Reports Enhancement
Within both the Dashboard Reports, as well as the Table Reports, we have added the ability to Duplicate a particular report as shown on the ribbons below. This will make it easier to create a new report similar to an existing report.

Facility Window - Grid Enhancement
On the grid now if you select different display units, instead of always drawing the gridlines at multiples of 10 meters apart, and displaying the converted value there (like 3.208 feet), we now draw the grid lines at multiples of 10 of the display units specified, so now you'll see 0.2 feet, 2 feet, 20 feet, etc.

Sketchup 2015 Support
We’ve enhanced our software so that we now support this latest version of Sketchup 2015.  

Expression Editor Content Filter
A new filter button on the left side of the expression editor allows you to limit the list to a context-determined subset of items. When in the main model, the filter hides all of the statistic items (making a slightly shorter list). The big payoff is when you create the expressions for experiment responses the filtered list shows only statistic items, which are often the only items used. This makes experiment expressions MUCH easier to create. In either case, if you want to see the full list that you used to see, just disable the filter.

In a related change, the expression editor will now behave more intuitively when you are typing more complex expressions, especially those involving items that are not shown on the list.  

Processes Window – Right –Click Process to Override/Restore
We have added the capability through a right-click on an inherited process to either Override or Restore the process. This functionality has been available only through the Process ribbon in past sprints. This was a user-requested feature.


New 'Auto Reset When Statistics Cleared' Option on States
For any state variable definition of any data type and regardless of whether a scalar or an array, in the Value property category we now provide a new Auto Reset When Statistics Cleared property. If this option is ‘True’, then the variable will be automatically reset to its initial state value(s) whenever the parent object or element’s statistics are cleared (e.g., after a specified warm-up period in the experiment or due to use of a ClearStatistics step). This feature is especially useful for those users who are using state variables to collect count-based or other statistics in the model.

SimBits and Examples

CombinerNode.spfx – This model uses a custom node object that batches multiple entities of given ‘priority’ values together to move to the next location in the model. The Batch step and BatchLogic element are used to provide combiner-like functionality to a node object.

TankCleanInPlaceTrigger.spfx – This model demonstrates the use of clean in-place triggers that were added to tanks (and other converters) in sprint 109. This example includes three types of entity flows entering a tank. When a new product flow type is used, the clean in-place triggers start the cleaning of the tank (with changeover matrix information) before the new product flow type begins.

TransporterListForVehiclesOnDifferentSchedules.spfx – This example demonstrates the use of a TranporterList when using various schedules (first shift / second shift) for selecting a vehicle. This could be applicable to workers / resources as well. Two vehicles have different schedules and the vehicles are put into a List. Entities select the vehicle for transport based on the list, which will incorporate their scheduled availability. 

SetPropertyBasedOnValueOfListProperty.spfx – This model uses a string list property and based on the value of the property in the list, the model will set a different model property numeric value using a Math.If statement. This is useful for customers that want to select control type information based on a string value, while that value is used to then set up other parameters in the system. 

SearchStationElement.spfx – This model uses a Station element queue to hold entities in one area of the simulation. Another area of logic then searches the station element queue contents for a matching type entity based on a specified match condition. If a matching entity is found in the station queue, it will be removed and batched with the searching entity.  

ScheduleUsesAProperty.spfx – In this new SimBit, a work schedule for a server is used, where the capacity within the schedule is dependent on a user input property. Therefore, the server’s capacity goes between ‘0’ (off shift) and a property value for capacity (on shift).

TravelWithSteeringBehavior.spfx – This example demonstrates the use of the various options on the Travel step for more flexible modeling of entity movement in free space. These features are generally used when you want to show more realistic movement of pedestrians and people. These concepts are often used in agent-based modeling.

General Functions

Roaming Licensing with Uninstall Change (*Network License Servers)
For those with network licenses, uninstall of Simio will now fail if you have a roamed license. You must first return the license before uninstall process can begin.

Context Menu in Breakpoints Window for Deleting Breakpoints
We’ve added a right click context menu within the Breakpoints window to either remove the currently highlighted breakpoint or to remove all breakpoints in a model.

Reset Selected Scenarios Option on Experiments
In addition to our normal Reset button, there's now a button for resetting only selected scenarios (i.e. the ones with their check boxes checked).

API Enhancement – Set Starting Time for Time Indexed Tables
We have added the option for setting the starting time for time indexed tables from within the API. This feature is within the ITable Interface and is referenced as the TimeIndexedStartTime property.

Enterprise Features

Resource Plan Gantt Enhancement for Vehicles / Workers
We have changed and enhanced the way we are displaying the usage time for Vehicles and Workers within the Resource Plan Gantt. In prior versions, we did not include Load Time in the Gantt. Now we display the Load, Transport and Unload, distinguishable by color. The lighter color section on the left indicates the load time, the darker middle section represents the transport movement time and the lighter color section on the right indicates the unload time with the Vehicle or Worker. When you hover over the specific entity, the entire Busy/Transporting duration is displayed (includes load/transport/unload times).

Enterprise features now Viewable without Activation  
Now everyone can explore Enterprise Edition features. The existing RPSExample model has been enhanced, and now can be loaded and fully explored regardless of the activation you have – even in evaluation mode.

Resource Plan Enhancements
We have added new capabilities for the user to decide what is displayed and how it is displayed in the Resource Plan Gantt. In the Visibility section of the Gantt ribbon, there is now a section for the user to decide how entities that are riders on a transporter will appear within the Gantt. By default, the riders will appear in the same row as the transporter resource. However, the user can elect to have the riders appear on a separate row, underneath the transporter. Additionally, the user can deselect both options so that riders do not appear at all in the Resource Plan.

The Show Filtered-Out Items option has been added to provide users with the option on whether or not to display items that have been filtered out.  If the user selects this option to have the items displayed, they will appear in the Gantt in a slightly muted color so that they unfiltered items are easier to see.  Otherwise, by default, the filtered out items are not displayed in the Gantt.

Gantt Charts
Entity and Resource Gantt Chart settings, such as View, Zoom levels, Targets and Visibility settings are now saved with the project.

Table Reports
Within the Reports tab of a model, you may now create your own Table Reports based on the tables in the Data window (Enterprise edition) or view previously generated reports (all users). The tables within a model are available for selection within the Create - Table Report button.  Selecting a table will then open the Report Designer window for the user to generate custom reports.

States and Functions

Link.Contents – This state accesses the queue of entities (ranked in order of entry) that are physically located on the link. This is particularly useful when you are doing more advanced link logic, for example examining a link for available space or an accumulation.

 Link.CrossSectionalArea Function – This function returns the cross-sectional area of the link in square meters.

Link.AvailableVolumeFlowInRate State – This state gets the current potential volume inflow rate for the link in the ideal case where there are no link-related flow constraints. Note that this is a private variable primarily intended for flow link object builders (and thus will only be visible inside a link object’s process view).

 Link.AvailableWeightFlowInRate State – This state gets the current potential weight inflow rate for the link in the ideal case where there are no link-related flow constraints. Note that this is a private variable primarily intended for flow link object builders (and thus will only be visible inside a link object’s process view).

Do you want still more? Examine the release notes for other recent releases here: Simio Release Notes



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Do you want still more information? Examine the release notes for other recent releases.