Autodesk Inventor Blog Post Featuring ProModel: Discrete Event Simulation for Real-World People

Autodesk and ProModel have teamed up to offer the best in factory design, optimization, and layout. Robust ‘real-life process and behavior’ simulation. 

About a year ago, Trevor English wrote a great post about how to optimize your factory using ProModel Corporation’s Process Simulator Autodesk Edition and Autodesk Factory Design utilities: 

“Leveraging predictive analytics, you can quickly simulate your factory model and get process improvement insights, all with the click of a button. This easy-to-use solution provides designers and engineers with little or no experience in process modeling the most affordable tools.” 

If you are more visual, Paul Munford also created this superb overview video that showcases Process Simulator Autodesk Edition’s capabilities to Factory Design Utilities (FDU).

Process Simulator Autodesk Edition is great for building a process flow from scratch and then easily creating the starter AutoCAD layout. Our other integrated tool, ProModel Autodesk Edition, allows you to start with an existing AutoCAD layout and very rapidly create a simulation model from the layout directly in Auto CAD. Check out the overview video of ProModel Autodesk Edition

Read the full Inventor Blog Post

Process Simulator Autodesk Edition Overview Video
ProModel Autodesk Edition Overview Video

Latest Process Simulator and Process Simulator Autodesk Edition Updates

We are pleased to announce the latest updates to the Process Simulator and Process Simulator Autodesk Editions.

Enhancements and Improvements

  • Improvements to window reload behavior (i.e. Scenario Manager window)
  • Improvements with add-in load behavior
  • Improvements with array stability when using 64-bit Office
  • Improvements with Output Viewer load speed
  • Licensing stability enhancements
  • Improved model error report
  • Updated localization

Material Handling and Autodesk Edition

  • Path Network refinement
  • Auto Orientation of Entities on Conveyors – users can now toggle on or off auto orientation of entities within Process Simulator Material Handling and Process Simulator Autodesk Edition

Download a 30-day evaluation of Process Simulator from the Process Simulator Eval Page

Download a 30-day evaluation of Process Simulator Autodesk Edition from the Autodesk App Store

Purchase a Process Simulator Autodesk Edition subscription from the new ProModel Online Store

Let us know what you think by leaving a reply below. Thanks!

Missed Autodesk University? View ProModel Content Until Dec 18

Watch Our Class and Download Training Files  

Use AutoCAD | Inventor with ProModel Simulation to Optimize Factory Layouts

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain the value of using ProModel simulation for process optimization
  2. Describe when to use manufacturing simulation
  3. Create a simulation model with Factory Design Utilities that opens directly in AutoCAD/Inventor to start a factory layout
  4. Identify how to create a simulation model from an existing AutoCAD layout

Visit our Virtual Booth for more educational material.

Purchase Process Simulator and ProModel Autodesk Edition Subscriptions from ProModel’s on-line store

Free Process Simulator Autodesk Edition 30-day Evaluation Trial from Autodesk App Store

Free ProModel Optimization Suite Autodesk Edition 30-day Evaluation Trial from Autodesk App Store

Build simulation models directly in AutoCAD

Autodesk University 2020 Nov 17-20 and it’s Free!

Free Registration to Attend #AU2020 Nov 17-20 https://autode.sk/2Zw3cZL

Watch Our Class On-Demand Starting Today Nov 17 – MFG 464012 Use AutoCAD | Inventor with ProModel Simulation to Optimize Factory Layouts; Bookmark It

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain the value of using ProModel simulation for process optimization
  2. Describe when to use manufacturing simulation
  3. Create a simulation model with Factory Design Utilities that opens directly in AutoCAD/Inventor to start a factory layout
  4. Identify how to create a simulation model from an existing AutoCAD layout

We have a Live Class Q&A on Fri Nov 20 at 12:30-1:30 PM EST (17:30 UTC) Register Here

Visit our Virtual Booth for Many Educational Resources

Four Live 30-minute ProModel Demos During AU Titled

“New ProModel Simulation Integration with AutoCAD and Inventor Accelerates Optimum Factory Design Using Digital Twin”

Register below at the best time for you:

Nov 17 Americas 4 pm EST, 21:00 UTC
Nov 18 EMEA 1:30 pm EMEA, 13:30 UTC
Nov 18 Americas 12:00 pm EST, 17:00 UTC
Nov 19 APAC 10 am APAC, 02:00 UTC

ProModel Autodesk Edition Release – Build Simulation Models Inside AutoCAD

Aaron Nelson Product Dev. Manager Process Simulator

Aaron Nelson Product Manager

I am excited to announce the latest release of the ProModel Autodesk Edition. With this release you can build to-scale simulation models directly in AutoCAD.  Start with a layout developed in AutoCAD utilizing the AutoCAD Factory Assets.  Then quickly create process flows by defining the travel paths for parts with simple clicks, then add process times or any special routing rules, there is no programming required to do this.

Next open the scaled model in ProModel right from the AutoCAD ribbon, finish adding any other simulation properties if necessary, then simulate and optimize the process in ProModel.  Finally, review your results in the Output Vewer, refine the layout as needed directly in AutoCAD and open up the revised model in ProModel. Once you have finished the design, you can then view it in 3D with Autodesk Inventor.

This short video provides a glimpse of the capabilities.  Download your 30-day evaluation copy from the Autodesk App Store.  View the rest of the release features at the ProModel Autodesk Edition Whats-New web page. Thanks for your continued business and support.  We wish you and your family good health!  Let me know if you have any questions or thoughts on the this new release in the comments section below .  Aaron

ProModel Layout in AutoCAD

ProModel model, built in AutoCAD

 

 

ProModel and Autodesk – Partners in Optimal Factory Design

Autodesk, the creator of AutoCAD® and Inventor® software, and ProModel have teamed up to bring you the best of both worlds of factory design and process optimization.  ProModel’s Process Simulator Autodesk Edition and ProModel Optimization Suite Autodesk Edition connect to Autodesk’s AutoCAD, Inventor, and Factory Design Utilities in order to streamline model building, process optimization and ultimately facility design.  You can get a 30-day evaluation version of both products from the Autodesk App Store

Process Simulator Autodesk Edition Eval

ProModel Optimization Suite Autodesk Edition Eval

Check out these great new Process Simulator Autodesk Edition videos:

Executive Overview – 2 min

 

Detailed Overview – 6 min


 

An Introduction to Manufacturing Process Simulation at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Rose-Hulman McCormack_Jay

Dr. Jay McCormack; Rose-Hulman – Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering

I teach classes in both the mechanical engineering and engineering design programs at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the areas of design and manufacturing. Rose is a small college in Terre Haute, Indiana focused on STEM. In the mechanical engineering program, one of the courses that we find differentiates our graduates is a junior level course on design for manufacturing. Instead of focusing on the sciences of manufacturing processes (which is clearly very valuable also), our course focuses on the application of design principles to facilitate the manufacturing of a given product, comparison of various manufacturing methods, and supporting design best practices related to manufacturing such as geometric dimensioning and tolerancing.

Two years ago, one member of the teaching team, the original creator of our design for manufacturing class, proposed integrating a process simulation project into the course. Our students are exposed to many manufacturing methods and work in depth with a few, but never had any exposure to manufacturing process. This is arguably appropriate content for any mechanical engineer but, a robotics minor is popular with our mechanical engineers, and many of the robotics students end up in positions related to manufacturing. Additionally, many biomedical engineers take the course and end up working as process engineers for medical device manufacturers. Therefore, the need was there for students to get a first exposure to manufacturing process and process simulation. I had some experience with process simulation more than a decade ago and experience with lean manufacturing so I was elected (appointed) by the teaching team to develop the project. I was familiar with ProModel products, but it had been a while since I used any simulation tools. I evaluated Process Simulator, a tool from ProModel that installs as a plug in to Microsoft Visio, and several other products, but found that Process Simulator allowed me to get students from zero to their first model quickly. After choosing Process Simulator and discussing the options to get the software from ProModel, I started developing the project.

Project Outcomes

My first objective was to develop the learning outcomes for the project. There were a few factors driving the learning outcomes:

  1. The students were almost exclusively novices. Virtually none of the 175 students in the course had any experience with any process simulation software, so the learning outcomes had to include low Bloom’s level items focused on both manufacturing topics and Process Simulator concepts.
  2. The design for manufacturing course itself has a number of bottlenecks involving other projects. Several hands on course projects involve specialized equipment and technician time. These projects require creative scheduling to get all students equal access to these resources in an eight-week period. Consequently, the learning outcomes and process simulation project were scoped to allow students to work in a self-directed manner with a given set of tutorial videos, feedback from their instructor, and a due dates that varied for project teams.

At the successful completion of this project, students will be able to:

  1. Define manufacturing process terms – batch, process, inventory, WIP, workstation, buffer, cycle time.
  2. Define fundamental Process Simulator concepts – entity, resource, activity, routing, arrival, setting simulation properties, batching, buffers, and priority.
  3. Apply Process Simulator to model a manufacturing process using the fundamental concepts.
  4. Redesign a manufacturing process using Process Simulator.

Even with just those basic concepts the students were able to create useful Process Simulator models of a given manufacturing process. Additionally, the model was sufficiently complex to require creative experimentation and exploration in order to make improvements.

Project Overview

The objective given to students was to use Process Simulator to model the performance of a factory, suggest improvements to the factory, and measure the impact of the improvements. Excerpts from the project description follow and a link to the complete project description is located at the end of this article.

Scenario

You are an engineer at HOBO Inc. (Hands On Bottle Opener, Inc.), producers of a line of extruded, one-handed bottle openers (The Blue Collar, Figure 1) that appeal to customers through durability, reliability, and functionality. You were on the new product development team that designed a new, beautiful, and refined one-handed bottle opener (The Executive, Figure 2) that will allow you to enter an untapped market. The new design is fabricated using an investment casting process that fits well with the geometric complexity and modest volume of production planned for the new model. Because investment casting is not part of HOBO’s core competency, you will outsource the casting. HOBO will receive a shipment of boxes of unfinished casting trees from the fabricator every morning. Each bottle opener will be sawn from the casting tree then tumbled to remove burrs and to produce better surface finish. Sawing, tumbling, and the subsequent inspection step are among our core competencies, so we plan to perform these operations in house on an existing production line. Additionally, we have two workers that are available on the day shift to be used as much as they are needed. (Note that they will not be fired if they are not used all day. We have work for them elsewhere in the factory.) 

This seems like a great opportunity to try the new process simulation software that you are evaluating for purchase. You gathered some baseline data about the operation (see the Factory Description) based on the verbal description by other engineers and managers. The information that you gathered is in the section called Baseline Factory Description.

Baseline Factory Description

There are four workstations. In order, they are:

  1. Receiving
  2. Sawing
  3. Tumbling
  4. Inspection

There are buffers to store work in process (WIP) located before sawing and before tumbling. A flowchart representing the process is shown in Figure 3. A process box for each workstation and the buffers is shown in Table 1. A more complete description of each is found after the table.

Rose-Hulman_Material Flow

Figure 3. Flow of Materials through the Baseline Factory

Deliverables

In order to earn a C Use Process Simulator software to provide a baseline estimate of net income (revenue – expenses) for the first year of operation. The Baseline Factory must follow all the process rules and procedures outlined in the Baseline Factory Description section. Write a memo summarizing the findings.
In order to earn a B Design meaningful improvements to the Baseline Factory. Describe the Improved Factory in the memo by capturing each of the suggested improvements.
In order to earn an A Use Process Simulator to model the Improved Factory. Report the improvement in yearly net income in the memo.

Details about the baseline factory are provided in subsequent sections, as is a set of tutorial videos that guide students through basic concepts. The videos are a mix of guided examples recorded by me and videos provided by ProModel.

Takeaways

This project was first developed and used in academic year 2018-2019. We were pleased with the enthusiasm that students approached the project and engaged in competition to produce the most profitable manufacturing process compared to their peers. We revised the project for 2019-2020 to include a grading scale that further encouraged exploration and a set of tutorial videos walking students through a given omelet station Process Simulator model.

All of the students received a base level exposure to process simulation, but we were pleased to see that a number of students dove deeper into manufacturing process issues. Students challenged the notion that inspection was required to wait until the last process step, unknowingly suggesting the use of quality at the source, a fundamental lean concept. Those students were able to see the positive impact of quality at the source in their Process Simulator models. Other students had insights about the impact of batch work and how batches served as mechanisms for covering root cause process issues. Those students reduced batch sizes where possible and identified the root cause problems.

The complete project description, scoring rubric, and tutorial video list is linked here. You are welcome to reuse it, modify it, make it better, and/or fix mistakes. If you do, let me know at mccormac@rose-hulman.edu. We look forward to featuring Process Simulator as part of our design for manufacturing course in future years and finding new ways to challenge students to explore manufacturing processes and process simulation.

Bio

Dr. Jay McCormack is an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Dr. McCormack’s teaching and professional development interests are in the areas of design and manufacturing. He teaches courses for the mechanical engineering and engineering design programs as well as the institute’s multidisciplinary design course. Before joining Rose-Hulman, Dr. McCormack was a faculty member at the University of Idaho where he worked with the state’s manufacturing extension partnership. He co-founded Pittsburgh-based CAD tool developer DesignAdvance Systems Inc. after graduating from Carnegie Mellon with a PhD in mechanical engineering.

Product Launch – Process Simulator Material Handling Edition

Aaron Nelson Product Dev. Manager Process Simulator

Aaron Nelson Product Manager

I am excited to announce the launch of the Process Simulator Material Handling Edition. This edition of Process Simulator now supports modeling material flow.

Along with the drawing environment being scaled, you now will have access to Stations, Conveyors, Path Networks and Nodes.

Image_PCS MH MFG Demo Model

Stations – A new type of activity created to enhance material handling. The station can have capacity or capacity can be turned off—designed to be used with conveyors.

  • The user can insert an on-board station into a conveyor.

pcs-station

pcs-station-properties

Conveyors – A new connector with properties to control how entities flow from activity to activity. Introducing stations in a conveyor will enhance the ability to control flow from conveyor to conveyor

  • Control speed of conveyors
  • Control distance of conveyors
  • Control orientation of entities
  • Control accumulation of entities

pcs-conveyor

pcs-conveyor-properties

Path networks – Resource movement can be added to enhance your model with travel, pick up, and deposit time.

pcs-path-networks-1

pcs-path-networks-2

Material Handling usage in a manufacturing environment is obvious, but maybe not as obvious in a Healthcare Environment, but it can be valuable there too.  One example is delivering prescriptions from the hospital pharmacy to a pick-up point on each floor, from where they would be picked up and delivered to patient rooms.

Image_PCS MH HC Demo Model

You can see additional features on the Process Simulator Material Handling Edition webpage.  You can also watch our introductory webinar on how to use this new edition on the website refresher course page

Thanks for your continued business and support.  We wish you and your family good health!  Let me know if you have any questions or comments on the material handling functionality.

Aaron

 

Visualizing your Shipyard with Shipyard AI

Shipyard AI, ProModel’s dedicated shipbuilding application, continues to evolve and develop new capabilities – With five software releases in 2019, desired improvements in shipyard capacity management, optimization, scheduling and process engineering have been realized.   In addition, there has been a heavy emphasis on improving management’s ability to visualize shipyard production at both the strategic and tactical levels, at a single glance.

Building on a Strong Foundation

Historically, Shipyard AI has provided solid data and process information in highly detailed representations.  The application has included the following key visualizations, which we’ve continued to refine and improve over the years.

The Laydown map provides a top-down view of the entire shipyard with animation showing the progress of ship construction over time.

Image_syai-visualiaztion-article-laydown-map

Capacity Utilization Package (CUP) reports visualize resource utilization over time.

Image_syai-visualiaztion-article-cup-report

The Schedule screen features a Gantt chart representation of hull construction.

Image_syai-visualiaztion-article-schedule

The Unit Template Tree report shows a hierarchical breakdown of a hull into its component grand blocks, blocks, panels, etc.

Image_syai-visualiaztion-article-unit-template-tree

New Ways of Seeing the Shipyard

A recent emphasis on developing new types of visualizations is bearing fruit. This article introduces new ways of seeing the shipyard: the strategic Milestone Chart, the more tactical Location Resource View, and an updated Map Shapes editor.

Milestone Chart

A new Milestone Chart on the Hulls screen provides a strategic management view — visualizing the production of many hulls across long periods of time in a single view.

Image_SYAI Hulls Screen With Milestone Chart Nov 2019

Location Resource View

The Location Resource View report shows unit placements over time grouped by location.

This view allows you to interface with a unit and its dependencies in a single action, reducing the time needed and the possible introduction of errors. It provides a visualization of space in the shipyard over time to help you quickly make re-planning decisions.

Image_SYAI Location Resource View Report Nov 2019

Map Shape Editor

In an upcoming release, we’ll provide a map shapes editor to allow you to quickly add and edit unit shapes.

You can assign map shapes at the unit template level to have units appear on the Laydown Map with the correct shape.

Image_SYAI Map Shape Editor

See the What’s New Shipyard AI Webpage for more details on this year’s releases.

Process Simulator and ProModel Now Integrate with AutoCAD and Inventor by Autodesk

We are very excited to announce Process Simulator Autodesk® Edition and ProModel Autodesk® Edition.  Each product integrates with Autodesk® AutoCAD® and Autodesk® Inventor® to provide you a more valuable manufacturing plant design and process improvement capability.

For more information about Process Simulator Autodesk Edition, including videos, a downloadable pdf, and a 30-day evaluation copy go to the Process Simulator Autodesk Edition webpage.

For more information about ProModel Autodesk Edition, including videos, a downloadable pdf, and a 30-day evaluation copy go to the ProModel Autodesk Edition webpage.

If you are at the Autodesk University event this week (11/19-11/21) in Las Vegas stop by booth MFG210 to get a live demo and talk to our team.