Efficiently Restructure Processes Through Simulation Modelling
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT), headquartered in Peoria, Illinois, US, is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.
Caterpillar was interested in using SIMUL8 to analyze the dynamics of their current manufacturing process and to help them identify and test-out new improved processing methods. Visual8 was approached to support the Prentice Restructure project team in the use of the simulation software for the design and development of a new remanufacturing facility.
Visual8, along with Caterpillar Engineers, developed a detailed simulation of a Water Pump value stream line including Disassembly, Reclaim, and Assembly processes. The model simulated the receipt of used core product through its reconditioned state with the introduction of new pumps and components to satisfy monthly demand levels.The simulation model accounted for:
- Staffing levels,
- Process speeds,
- Scrap rates,
- Equipment reliability levels, and
- Product changeover requirements.
Flexibility was built into the model to simulate alternative demand and receipt volumes along with staffing levels and equipment availability to determine the most efficient configuration for this value stream. The simulation model was further developed to analyze other product lines to help identify and design the best future state processes for the new Prentice facility, which included:
- Current layout of the existing product line within the plant,
- A user-interface to permit changes to all key plant operating parameters, and
- Production data (process times, resource requirements, and changeover times).
Appropriate output reports from the simulation were developed to include the following performance measures:
- Product line utilization
- Resource utilization
- Throughput and yields by product
- Bottleneck analysis
Input parameters were all modifiable through user-friendly data sheets and dialogs to facilitate quick and easy “what-if” analysis. The tool was used to support the transition of remanufacturing from the existing facility to the new plant. Cost savings from the simulation included:
- Capital cost-avoidance,
- Shorter commissioning times, and
- Improved working knowledge of the new plant operations.
The Prentice Restructure simulation project provided many benefits to Caterpillar. Through the application of simulation modeling, Caterpillar identified:
- Equipment needs,
- An efficient plant layout,
- Manning levels, and
- Physical materials handling requirements for demand levels.
The resultant simulation model provided the Prentice Remanufacturing project team with the means to analyze and demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of future state product value stream line options including the introduction of leaner production methods and the use of “pull” systems.