Quickly Examine Design Alternatives and Quantify their Impact on Production
Sappi Fine Paper is the preeminent producer of coated fine paper in North America — with a production capacity of 1.3 million tons of paper annually. The Sappi Cloquet mill specializes in coated free sheet graphic paper and bleached chemical pulp.
The Cloquet mill did not have sufficient pulping capacity to provide the daily hardwood pulp supply required to its paper machines.
A new hardwood pulper was planned to be installed to solve the pulp shortage problem. A new building was planned to be located closer to the railroad tracks with dedicated floor space for inventory, railcar docks, and truck docks. There were several design features of this area that could directly impact production:
- Location of inventories, pulper and balelines
- Number of truck and rail docks, as well as clamp trucks needed for material handling
- Truck and rail arrival schedule
The management team tasked Visual8 with creating the Materials Handling Simulation model that would be used to quickly examine design alternatives and quantify their impact on production.
Some of the user inputs that were used to drive the simulation were as follows:
- Shipping schedule
- Clamp truck timings and priorities
- Inventory sizing and handling rules
As the user varied the inputs and tested different layouts the simulation generated results such as:
- Pulper throughput
- Truck min, avg, and max wait times
- Clamp truck performance
The simulation model also created detailed tracking logs of truck arrivals and clamp truck movement. This allowed Sappi to examine the impact of various layout and materials handling scenarios on throughput and clamp truck utilization.
Visual8 was able to assist Sappi in determining the impact that available design alternatives would have on throughput and materials handling equipment performance.
The simulation model also identified the amount of inventory floor space required for the different species of pulp that are used at the Cloquet plant.
While initially it was thought that a single clamp truck would be sufficient for this area, the simulation indicated that adding a second clamp truck prevented shorting the pulper and reduced truck queuing times at the dock.