Project Case Study: Linamar Powertrain Plant Capacity Planning
Evaluate Various Line Configuration Capabilities
From machined components to sophisticated powertrain modules and fully-realized mobile industrial products, Linamar is a leading manufacturer of components and systems for the automotive industry, and mobile industrial markets.
Linamar was designing a new Power train plant that would build to a broadcast put out by a nearby assembly facility. They wanted to evaluate the capability of different line configurations and task divisions to satisfy the broadcast requirements.
They also wanted to identify the requirements of supplying parts to the line, including:
- The size of line-side inventories,
- Re-order points and quantities for station replenishment,
- Total required storage space, and
- The necessary levels of staff and equipment.
Finally, Linamar wanted to identify the number of trailers required to move power trains from their plant to the assembly facility – the purchase cost of a trailer was over $100,000.
VISUAL8 created a Powertrain Plant Capacity Planning simulation model of all the assembly work cells and station operations. The model simulates product assembly operations at each of the work cells with the consumption of line parts in accordance to the bill of materials for that cell. New power trains are triggered for production based on a simulated broadcast from the final assembly facility. The simulation records the time from receipt of each request to shipping for all power trains as well as the overall Jobs per Hour (JPH) resulting from the current line configuration and station cycle times.
Replenishment of materials in the storage bins alongside each work cell is modeled in accordance to prescribed inventory management rules. The replenishment time for line parts is based on the location and retrieval time from the storage racks along with the number of pickers available. Spreadsheet driven inputs include:
- Travel times,
- Line-side inventory levels,
- Part storage locations, and
- The number of forklifts and operators available for use in replenishment activities.
The model tracks all instances of line stoppages due to part shortages to identify which products’ replenishment parameters need to be revised.
Inbound materials are modeled with arrival patterns and received quantities defined by part and supplier. New stock of parts is stored in high density racks until needed by the line. Modeling the arrival of new stock and the drawdown of parts by the line provides the capability to determine total required storage space in the plant, and storage space by area.
The outbound flow of completed power trains is also modeled at a high level. The time for a return trip from the manufacturing facility is calculated based on the time of day when the truck is ready to leave the Linamar facility and the time it would be expected to start the return leg.
This high level modeling of the transit time required per trailer allows for analysis of the number of trailers required to move all required power trains when they are needed at the assembly facility.
The simulation model allowed Linamar to determine the line layout and station tasks required to produce to the broadcast before breaking ground on the facility. It also made it possible to evaluate the capability of the line to handle shifts in product mix or future increases in the broadcast rate.
The model could also be used to establish target line-side inventory levels, re-order points and re-order quantities in a risk free environment and could be used to refine those parameters on an on-going basis. It could also be used to get high level estimates of the number of pallet spaces required in the high density racks.