Simulation Package Aids Manufacturing

Modeling manufacturing-line problems and their potential solutions is the goal of a software package from Simul8 Corp. Simul8 2000 Version 6 from the Herndon, Va., software firm promises to help companies improve productivity by creating a model that uncovers inefficiencies and offers possible solutions. At Hewlett-Packard Co., for instance, Simul8 software was used to model the assembly and test processes at the high-tech firm's Queensferry Microwave Division, which makes test and measurement products. Among the company's goals: Gain a better understanding of the manufacturing processes and improve capacity planning. By varying orders and labor availability, the simulation was able to help determine the most effective set-up of the production line. The model not only met the company's objectives, says an HP spokesman, but it also illustrated "the delays and constraints within the process and presents opportunities to reduce and eliminate non-value-added activities." The division figures it saved an estimated $100,000 in opportunity costs as well as other productivity gains.

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