International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology vol:3 issue:1 pages:15-32
Flexible manufacturing systems are designed to produce a variety of different part types with high machine utilisation, short lead times and little work-in-progress inventory. Simulation is an efficient tool to verify design concepts, to select machinery, to evaluate alternative configurations and to test system control strategies of an FMS. This paper discusses a general-purpose, user-oriented discrete simulator (the Modular FMS Simulator) which can be used for design as well as for operation and scheduling of FMSs. The package can be implemented in different hierarchical steps of FMS production planning. It is also a useful tool in validating the results of analytical models or heuristic procedures developed for FMS problems. This package contains features for the system hardware and the control hierarchy. The model can study multiple part families, various station types, different number of work-in-process buffers and carts and almost any system layout. It is also possible to analyse the performance of the system. The package contains a set of decision rules from which the user can make his choice.