Ingalls Develops Automated Unit Lay-Down ‘Advisor’ with Capacity Planning Tool

Image_Ingalls from theSigal MagazineHuntington Ingalls Industries – Ingalls Shipbuilding (Ingalls) identified substantial savings potential in the lay-down placement and assignment process that had been previously utilized for managing asset location throughout the construction process.

Building four different hull forms in the tight shipyard footprint is a challenge. Ingalls Shipbuilding work instructions define the processes and responsibilities for the proper allocation and optimization of real estate (lay-down spaces) for structural units and assemblies under construction, while providing forward visibility for scheduled or potential overloads to capacity.

However, the old capacity planning processes were tedious and overly time-consuming. Resulting real estate allocations were seldom optimal and often required substantial rework to resolve space allocation conflicts, as the construction schedules for each hull form jockey for the same production resources.

The Ingalls team developed an automated process that optimizes unit layout and scheduling, and increases the construction of many units under a covered structure, significantly improving production rates—a plus in the hot southern climate.

“The new tool has taken a process that historically took 10 weeks to complete and can now finish the scheduling activity in less than an hour. Following project completion and full system implementation, we expect to reduce ‘real estate’ allocation processing time by 30% and place 20 more units ‘under cover’ annually, with an estimated cost savings of over $990K per year.”

 (Article Courtesy of “theSignal” and DefenseNews.com)

Click here to read the rest of the Ingalls story

Whirlpool and The University of Michigan Collaborate on a Simulation Project Using ProModel Software

Embarking on a simulation project can seem like a daunting task at times, especially if the project must be completed above and beyond one’s normal responsibilities.  During those times, it is beneficial to consider engaging a partner to help.

Of course ProModel provides professional model building and consulting services, but another alternative is to partner with a University that teaches ProModel, MedModel or Process Simulator.  This type of industry | academia collaboration is a win-win for both organizations.

Please check out this very successful simulation project by Whirlpool on which they partnered with the University of Michigan. The article was published in PlantServices.com.

Click here to see a list of colleges and universities using ProModel software products.  If you would like more information about our academic program, please contact us at education@promodel.com or 801-223-4601.

 

 

From Reality to Model

Adjunct Prof Mark Klee Headshot

Mark Klee; Adjunct Professor – Eastern Kentucky University

I know what you are thinking “From Reality to Model” shouldn’t that be the other way around? As an engineer at Toyota for the past 24 years I often encounter manufacturing processes that have slowly de-optimized. And now, just by walking by the processes on the floor, I can see waste (motion, waiting, over-processing). I know this means that the these processes need some work.

Our typical method of improving these processes would be to employ the traditional Toyota Production System tools. We begin with observation and time study. Then we use video for motion analysis making these processes visual on paper with standardized work combination tables, standardized work charts, and production capacity calculations. Through these simple analysis tools, the waste in the process becomes more obvious and begins to generate ideas for improvement.

This is typically done one process or one zone of processes at at time. It is also usually done with paper, pencil, and stopwatch. The methods have proven time and again to be effective for process improvement and an effective method of developing engineers as well as manufacturing floor members in process improvement.

After the waste is discovered and the improvement ideas generated it is time to try some improvement ideas. The process visualization and capacity calculation documents are then modified to simulate the improvement idea. Then it is time to try the modified process on the production floor. The concept is tested in a controlled environment. After success is documented, the process standards are modified the team is trained to the new standard.

Using ProModel works very well with the Toyota Production System and as a method for developing manufacturing engineers, manufacturing floor members and students in manufacturing focused curriculum. In Eastern Kentucky University’s Applied Engineering and Management class, we follow this progression.

  • We first focus on learning process observation and visualization skill using the standard Toyota Production System tools.
  • Next we learn the processes of implementing controlled change in a mass production environment. We learn and practice these skills on the manufacturing floor to gain real world experience.
  • After learning the basics of observation and improvement, we come back to the classroom where we employ ProModel to fine tune our processes and learn if there are any opportunities for optimization that may have been overlooked.
  • With ProModel we can also test scenarios that may be difficult to test on the actual production floor like moving a piece of equipment, modifying a cycle time, changing a conveyor length or changing a delivery frequency.
  • These trials can be done as quickly as you can change the numbers in the model allowing for many more cycles of trial and error or trial and success in a shorter time.

As a result of the course and ProModel, students have deeper understanding of both the theory and application of process improvement allowing them to be an instant contributor to a manufacturing organization upon their graduation.

In the end, deeply understanding the current reality through observation, documentation, and modification of the current process helps us make a more accurate model. The result of the more accurate model is further optimization. This deepens learning and the improvement cycle continues.

Brief Bio:

Mark Klee, BS Eastern Kentucky University 1990, MS Purdue University 1992
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky 1994-Present
Eastern Kentucky University Adjunct Faculty 2012-Present

American Food Manufacturer Shows Packaging and Palletizing Improves Production and Plans for Growth with the Use of Simulation

CHALLENGES

An American food manufacturing facility was looking to buy a new palletizer for their packaging/palletizing floor. The manufacturing group needed to perform a capacity analysis of the 13 existing palletizers in the facility which supported 29 production lines. The company was facing challenges keeping up with consumer demand for their popular products. ProModel was brought in to build a pilot model of the packaging and palletizing floor.

OBJECTIVES

The first set of objectives were to analyze and understand the following elements of the current operations:

  1. Case type throughput for an eight-hour shift
  2. Packaging line downtimes
  3. Palletizer utilization

The next set of objectives involved analyzing the impact of different changes to the system:

  1. Cases per pallet
  2. Conveyor length
  3. Adjusting palletizer downtimes

SOLUTION

A ProModel consultant and the company’s personnel worked together to build a pilot model. Packing lines to conveyors to palletizers are represented in the simulation model shown below.

The diagram does not reflect the actual conveyor layouts, but by using data provided by the company, actual conveyor speeds and distances were taken into consideration. The conveyors and palletizers being considered for future expansion were also included in the model.

SS-Palletizer-Improvement_Image_3

More changes to the system can be analyzed since the simulation model is extremely customizable. For example, as additional downtime information is collected, the model can be dialed in to better reflect actual operations. The model allows for other process changes over time too like cycle times, introduction of new cases and new palletizers.

As a result of the success of the pilot model, this company and ProModel will be working together to model another palletizing floor of the facility. The one change that the client requested is that actual conveyor layouts be reflected in this second model to better illustrate how they impact production flow.

VALUE PROVIDED

The company has a model of each palletizing floor. These models can be connected and the organization can test and evaluate changes and expansions to the entire palletizing portion of their facility to guarantee that variations and increases in consumer demand will be met.

 

ProModel/MedModel 2018 What’s New Webinar

2018 What's New Header

We will be conducting a live ProModel / MedModel 2018 Release Webinar on Wed Nov 15 from 1-2 pm ET.

What's New Webinar sign up button

The webinar will give you a look at the updated look and feel of the application’s more modern, fluent user interface that provides more ease and control of your model building experience. This significant version will include such features as a Ribbon Toolbar, Docking Windows, and Right-Click Context Menus as described below:

  • Ribbon Toolbar: The traditional menus and toolbars are being replaced with a fluent Ribbon toolbar like you find in Microsoft Office applications. The new Ribbon will make it easier to access the various modules and features within the application and better facilitate touch screen and high-resolution devices.

Ribbon Toobar screen shot

  • Docking Windows: Windows will be docked within the new workspace interface, which means that when you adjust the size of one window, the others automatically resize accordingly. Say goodbye to overlapping windows. You will also be able to stack windows on top of each other and quickly access them from their respective tab thus saving valuable view space.

Dock Screen Shot

  • Right-Click Context Menus:  Context menus will be available in every table and accessible by right-clicking in any field within that table. For example, you will be able to quickly delete, insert or move a record with a simple right-click of the mouse.

Right Click Screen Shot

Join the webinar to hear all about what’s new in the ProModel / MedModel 2018 Release on Wed Nov 15 from 1-2 pm ET.

What's New Webinar sign up button

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Increasing Use of Custom ProModel Integration Yields Big Benefits

2017-06-20 09_21_16-Keith Knudsen

Keith Knudsen ProModel Project Manager

Traditional Modeling Provides Great Benefits, But Can Do More…

Over the past 29 years, ProModel users across a spectrum of industries have demonstrated the value that modeling can bring to an organization. Just a few examples include:

  • A leading manufacturer of oilfield equipment who modeled their existing location to identify ways to optimize their processes and gained a 45% throughput increase
  • Shipbuilding companies that have used our traditional modeling to improve shipyard production and capacity planning
  • Hospitals that have used MedModel for decades to improve patient flow.

Increasingly, however, ProModel customers are looking to extend these benefits by integrating their models with other IT systems to develop web-based decision support tools. These model-based tools utilize a ProModel engine on a server, read in live data and utilize ProModel simulation and optimization capabilities to provide forecasting, automated scenario exploration and prescriptive suggestions.

Custom Integration Amplifies The Value of a Good Model

Whether created by ProModel consultants or in-house analysts, a good model (traditional or integrated) is composed of several key elements as shown below.

Custom Dev Integration Model Architecture

  1. Process Forecasting: A good model simulates an important business process in a concise way, at an appropriate level of abstraction, and provides accurate forecasting to inform key business decision making.
  2. Operational Data: To the extent possible, a good model brings together real-world data (typically from several sources) that has been validated and normalized. Operational data feeds the model, but also is mined for distributions, patterns and trends that improve the model’s predictive and prescriptive fidelity.
  3. Resources & Constraints: Every business process has factors which throttle its throughput – often in non-linear and sometimes unexpected ways. A good model can forecast the impact of changes to resources and other constraints.
  4. Business Priorities: Providing information about business priorities allows a good model to do two things: a) predict and notify users about problems and opportunities, and b) utilize automated scenario creation and optimization to explore alternatives and seek decisions that lead to most optimal outcomes.
  5. Prescriptive Analytics: A good model provides the prescriptive information to key decision makers as early as possible to support effective planning. These improved plans then feed back into the system as operational decisions and changes to resourcing, process and priorities.

Custom integrated model(s) take all of the above, integrate it with live data and makes its power available in a live, web-based format so that tactical decision-makers at all levels of the organization can utilize it. In a live integrated environment, prescriptive analytics can be provided daily or even hourly in support of near real-time decision-making.

A Growing Portfolio of Proven Custom Integration Success Stories

ProModel has now developed about half a dozen custom predictive prescriptive platforms with direct integration of the ProModel server into the customer’s operational IT environment.  Examples include:

  • Shipyard Manufacturing Capacity Planning: AREAS
  • Supply Chain Planning: DST
  • Personnel Readiness: AST
  • Hospital Patient Flow Optimization: FutureFlow Rx

AREAS capacity planning capability was featured in the Signal Magazine on page 2. The article states that Ingalls Shipbuilding estimated a potential annual cost savings of just under $1M from the use of this tool.

Benefits of Integrating Models With Live Data Systems

Benefits of a custom integration of ProModel include:

  • Pulls operational data to support strategic planning on an ongoing basis
  • Automatically projects “strategic what-ifs” (changes to resourcing, facilities or sales) to show true impact on “daily tactical decisions”
  • Ties strategic targets to operational decisions, and continuously explores alternatives to provide early warning of opportunities and risks.

For More Information…

Contact saleshelp@promodel.com if you are interested in learning more about custom model integration.

ProModel AutoCAD App for Warehouses and Distribution Centers

Steve-Courtney-100-x100

Steve Courtney, ProModel Sr. Consultant

I have several years of experience in supply chain and logistics modeling helping clients who have large warehouses and distribution centers.  These models are often very large (thousands or tens of thousands of locations), which can be very time consuming to model.  I’ve found the old adage to be very true: “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”, so I developed a ProModel App that is used from within AutoCAD which enables us to quickly build the graphical portions of the model using OLE automation.  This capability is also very useful when experimenting with several different layouts.

The types of Warehouse / DC modeling questions that can be answered include:

  • Slotting questions – where should my SKUs go?
  • Racking questions – which type of racking is best (flow rack, bin shelving, single pallet deep, double pallet deep, drive-in racking, etc.)?
  • How high should our racking go 5 levels, 7 levels, etc?
  • Which material handling devices are best – narrow aisle, forklifts, single/double/triple pallet jack, reach trucks, side loaders, clamp trucks, electric/propane/natural gas, etc.?
  • Staffing questions – how many of each type and when?

I recently gave a webinar on this topic which you can view here

The requirements for using the app include:

  • Current AutoCAD drawing
  • AutoCAD not AutoCAD Light
  • Know where each location is physically on the drawing
  • Location levels 2-X should be mapped to the level 1 location
  • Build indexed location file in the order you plan to add to the drawing
  • Know which material handling device accesses each location

If you would like to discuss this further, or have other ideas that can help us all improve warehouse and distribution center modeling, please comment below.  Thanks and Happy Modeling!

Thanks, Steve Courtney