Simulation (or to give it its full title Discrete Event Simulation) is a technique that has been around for many years. I myself have been using it for nearly 30 years through jobs with the Home Office, in the Water industry and with a simulation software provider providing consultancy services. Its roots are in manufacturing and a lot of my early work was in industries such as Automotive. That’s why this year, I decided to take a trip to Hannover Messe to see what’s happening in manufacturing. You hear a lot of buzz words – Internet of Things (IoT) and Digital 4.0 – and Hannover is showing some of the best in global manufacturing.
It got me thinking – how is simulation responding to the challenges brought about by manufacturing now? Simulation software has been evolving over the last 20 plus years since the last big step forward – when simulation moved away from programming languages (such as See Why, Siman Cinema and others) to simulation ‘packages’ (such as WITNESS, ARENA, Promodel and many more). Since then, many more simulation products have come along – e.g. Simul8, Simio, Anylogic. Add in tools like Flexsim and Simcad and you can see there is plenty of choice available.
Although there were few of the mainstream traditional simulation software providers present, I did see demos of Technomatix on the Siemens stand and mentions of simulation on some others (e.g. Dassault Systemes). Also, Simio had a stand in the USA section and their local German Representative also had a stand.
If anything, simulation should be about making sure that manufacturers get it right first time and have the ability to test new ideas, concepts and theories in a safe computer environment. With the changes coming along, I came away with the view that simulation tools do still have a big contribution to make in manufacturing – just as much now as when I embarked on a career in simulation 30 years ago.
The views expressed in this blog are purely the thoughts and opinions of the author based on experience in applying simulation over the years in many different industries. Thoughts, feedback and comments (whether agreeing or disagreeing) are most welcome.