Date of Award
Master of Engineering (ME)
Dr. H.A. ElMaraghy
A Flexible Manufacturing System is an integration of machine tools, material handling devices and computers into a system designed to improve productivity in the mid-volume production.
Although a number of such systems have been designed, relatively little is know about the managing and optimal operating conditions of such systems. Even less is known about how future systems should be designed for optimal efficiency. The main objective here is to develop a user-oriented general purpose simulator which can be used as an experimental tool to gain insight into the problems posed by such complex systems.
The developed FMSSIM simulator uses the discrete event simulation approach, incorporating the philosophy of the GASP simulation package in event monitoring. It is capable of simulating different configurations and topology including bidirectional tracks. It can check blockage of route due to interference of carts. It can also simulate random failures and repairs of the various components in the system. It provides the user with a wide range of priority rules to select from. It also allows the user to define his own priority rules.
The main features of this simulator are: (1) Ease of use: FMSSIM is a user-oriented package where simulation is transparent to the user. Only a set of input data needs to be supplied. The program will perform the simulation and produce a report on various vital system performance statistics.
(2) Graphical Output: The program produces a graphical output on a visual display terminal showing the movement of parts through the system.
(3) Data Input: The program has a systematically organised data structure where information can be easily modified and retrieved.
A series of experiments were conducted using this simulator to test its versatility and study the behaviour of a hypothetical Flexible Manufacturing System when various design parameters are changed. The response of the system to changes in transporter speed, in- and out-shuttles capacity and number of pallets was studied. Two different types of material handling systems viz. the cart and the conveyor were compared. The effects of introducing an additional machine and changing the system topology were also examined. The general trends of results obtained from the case study are in agreement with the findings reported in other published literature.
The ability to simulate a wide range of systems with varied design parameters has made the FMSSIM simulator a very useful design aid which enables the system designer to analyse various parameters and arrive at a more efficient system.
Ho, Nai Choon, "Discrete Simulation of Flexible Manufacturing System" (1981). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 145.