Seeing a better future: Simulation software renders optimal plant layout before construction

MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, a heavy-duty truck manufacturer based in Munich, Germany, is substantially cutting the cost of building a new production facility by using the simulation capabilities of the DELMIA Process Engineer software package from Dassault Systemes.
By Manufacturing Business Technology Staff December 20, 2007

MAN Nutzfahrzeuge , a heavy-duty truck manufacturer based in Munich, Germany, is substantially cutting the cost of building a new production facility by using the simulation capabilities of the DELMIA Process Engineer software package from Dassault Systemes .
The new facility will produce TGA Worldwide trucks, a model specially designed to meet East European market requirements. Through 3D visualization of the building and work cell layout, DELMIA is helping MAN minimize costs and potential production problems, says MAN planner Thorsten Franz.
A truck consists of about 6,500 parts delivered in containers to the workstations. Each container of parts must be available at the right time and the right place in order to keep production flowing. The DELMIA simulation of the facility revealed how the original plans would have led to the concentration of materials at certain locations and rendered feasible work processes impossible.
MAN began by developing an initial draft plan of the new plant in Process Engineer using different assembly lines complete with line balancing on the various stations, such as framework construction, painting systems, wheel, cab and motor assembly. Then MAN used the software to configure alternative manufacturing designs, systems layouts, material handling, tests for usability, and the supply concept. Additionally, line balancing and cycle periods were all placed in context, then visualized and optimized.
“We were able to considerably minimize costs and problems through simulation. We have already achieved significant synergies among the logistics, technology and assembly divisions, we’re a long way from exhausting all possibilities and will continue to review processes with DELMIA,” Franz says.