Prof. Agostino Bruzzone (DIP), Prof. Piero Giribone (DIP), Prof.Roberto Mosca (DIP)
Dr. Simone Simeoni (DIP), Dr.Simone Simeoni, Dr.Marina Massei (Liophant), Dr.Enrico Bocca (DIP), Dr.Simone Viazzo(DIP).
Dott. Salvatore Capasso (CFLI)
This unit is devoted to define tailored techniques and methodologies for developing models and implementing simulators devoted to support small and medium; the team will use their experiences in production planning, applied to industrial and civil buildings by using simulation in order to create the models and apply experimental techniques for using simulation in this field. The Italian team will work in applying their research to a real case study in Italy; the Industrial Team member (CFLI, Consortium for Intermodal Logistics & Transportation) guarantees the availability of a practical case study where to apply the techniques and methodologies operating for business process re-engineering.
Universidad Panamericana, McLeod Institute for Simulation Sciences, Mexico
Prof. Stanislaw Raczynski
This unit will research reuse of models applied in other areas for reproducing the business process phenomena in small and medium enterprise. The Mexican team will work in applying their research to an industrial case study in Mexico.
LESMEC (LEan Simulation for improving small & Medium Size Enterprises Competitiveness)
Project Description & Goals
The LESMEC (LEan Simulation for improving small & Medium Size Enterprises Competitiveness) project is devoted to research techniques and methodologies for using simulation as support for production planning. In particular LESMEC expected to create different integrated models for reproducing the business of small and medium size enterprise, with special attention to Logistics and Supply Chain Sectors:
One of main obstacle in the optimal engineering product design/reengineering is the use of quantitative methods.
Modeling and simulation tools are data intensive and their implementation costs often are too high. Small Enterprises can not effort on their own the simulation model building.
Big Enterprises can do it, but they usually do not share their expertise with other companies; then they, and also Small ones, base their decision only on qualitative methods.
This limit can avoid any effort in improving the industrial systems, while the diffusion of Modeling & Simulation (M&S) in overseas companies provides a great advantage in term of competitiveness.
On the other hand, European Institutions, such as Universities and Industrial Research centers, have developed Modeling and Simulation tools for many industrial cases, showing Simulation effective in optimizing the life cycle of industrial systems.
The expertise, in different fields, of European Institutions should be used to develop and introduce the new idea of Compact Simulation Unit: CSU represents a small team, equipped with specific tools and using specific operative protocols in order to manage quickly and successfully small simulation projects.
This projects are devoted to be applied in Small and Medium Enterprises as well during Early Stage Evaluation (ESE) in large programs.
These developments will be based by a new simulation service provided by: LEan Simulation for Improving Small &Medium Enterprises Competitiveness (LESMEC).
The basic idea on the LESMEC is that it is possible, from the models developed for specific industrial cases, to extract lean simulation models, that, with a very reduced set of data, are able to provide meaningful and reliability results.
A systemic approach is based on the maximal conceptualisation distance (aggregation) suitable for the given problem, and develops a strategic model that requires a small amount of significant data.
Such easier solution would, indeed, suffice and provides handy logical models..
The Lean Simulation could be introduced in Small and Medium Enterprises by very small team, called Compact Simulation Unit, two o three persons at maximum, very skilled in modeling and simulate industrial and engineering cases.
These teams will use "ad hoc" protocols derived from usual techniques based on available experiences in order to speed up the analysis..
LESMEC could be used, for example, by Small Enterprises, that can outsource this simulation service with reduced costs, but also by Big Enterprises to have rapid Early Stage results in large/complex program.
The LESMEC project focus in developing efficient and effective techniques for guarantee to develop analysis for achieving such result with reasonable investments; the application of “ad hoc” M&S to this area need to be compatible in term of times and costs with the capabilities also of medium size users (i.e. Small & Medium Size companies, public facilities etc.).
For this reason the use of M&S and the relative research for applying effectively it in this context is the core activity of LESMEC.
DIP-Genoa University, Italian Research leading Institution, is actively involved in several projects for using innovative techniques for supporting with companies and entities; for instance in the past DIP develop intelligent systems based on Simulation and Artificial Neural Networks for supporting business process in order to optimise production management.
The experiences available in DIP Genoa could be an important support and starting point in the development of LESMEC researches.
Italian Team is currently involving also representative of Italian small size companies: CFLI. This user is very interested in researching techniques and methods to improve the rational management of production by applying M&S techniques; this provides a very useful case study from Italian point of view for the validation phase.
The two research teams are centred in two Institutions (DIP,Genoa University and the School of Engineering, Universidad Panamericana) that are active members of the International Institution operating in M&S: the McLeod Institute of Simulation Science (19 centres distributed world wide, entitled to the founder of International Society for Modelling & Simulation); this guarantee effective co-operation and co-ordination among the Mexican and Italian groups.
The Mexican Team will concentrate on new simulation tools taylored for the needs of small organizations which do not have enough staff anf funds to implement simulation projects. The following summary describes this proposal.
Looking at the directories of simulation software one can find lot of tools designed to simulate manufacturing systems. Most of them are quite good and provide graphical representation of the results and nice 3D animations. The question is why the implementation of these tools in the industry is not so common as might be expected. First of all, observe that what the end user (a manager, plant engineer) must do is to learn a programming language or to read a huge manual of a simulation package. Second, even if he does this, very probably he will find that the features of the package are insufficient to describe the real plant. The worse thing that may occur is that the simulationist who dominates a particular software tool tends to deform the reality to the tool he uses and not vice versa. This results in invalid models and false results.
Our attempt consists in developing a software-independent specification of manufacturing systems that could be easily understood and used by a manager to describe what happens in the production process. The specification describes four levels: corporation, plant, line and production cell. The elemental components of a cell are blocks, i.e. machines, buffers, inspection operations etc. This specification is prepared using a very simple language that can be easily learned and understood. The resulting file is the Standard Specification of the Manufacturing System (SSMS) and contains the information sufficient for the plant simulation. However, SSMS is not a simulation language or package and there is no dangerous that the real system will be seen through a particular simulation tool. The following step is the simulation. The simulation language or package could be selected by the user or selected automatically by the simulation software. The idea is that the simulation language be hidden and that the rest of the process be transparent for the user. To implement this, one or more translators from SSMS to a simulation language will have to be developed. Possible end code might be generated in GPSS, SIMNET, SLAM, SIMSCRIPT, MODSIM or in any other general-purpose discrete event tool. If more than one translator are available, the choice can be done automatically or left to the user. If the SSMS contains information that cannot be translated to any of the available simulation tools, the user will be warned that some of the model features cannot be simulated. If this means that the real system cannot be simulated at all, the conclusion is that the available simulation tools are deficient, and not that the model is wrong.
A SSMS structure is presented. We also present an experimental version of the translator that uses SSMS file and produces the code for the simulation system PASION.
A part of this task is being developed within the frame of one PhD thesis in progress in the Mexican Center of the McLeod Institute for Simulation Sciences. As the result of this part of the project we plan to implement the SSMS methodology in several small and medioum pilot factories, in Mexico as well in Italy.
The project is structured as follows:
Phase A: State of Art Survey & Reporting
LESMEC Phase A is devoted to perform a research about previous experiences in this area for collecting the state of art of Modelling & Simulation (M&S) in this sector; the investigation includes to construct a network of contacts that acquired experience in this area and/or that it is interested in it.
LESMEC survey guarantee the creation of an archive about previous researches, applications and experiences in M&S application in production planning with comparative analysis and synthesis.
The survey is devoted also to identify possible case studies where to apply and validate the techniques and methodologies developed in LESMEC project during the validation phase (Phase C); this part needs to consider the specific characteristics of both Mexican and Italian scenario, including user needs and evolving situation; the comparative analysis will guarantee the potential for these methodologies in Mexico and in Italy, highlighting the economical and social benefits as well as the competitiveness advantage for users.
LESMEC expects to complete two demonstrations (one in Italy and one in Mexico) for guarantee the generalisation capabilities of the M&S developed techniques.
Italian and Mexican teams will work remotely by using web services, while a researcher of each group will visit the other team for co-ordinating the operations and improve the national scenario knowledge sharing.
Phase B: Tailoring Modelling & Simulation
LESMEC project starts from existing state of art of M&S in production planning and moves forward to develop tailored modelling and simulation techniques for reproducing the critical aspects.
In particular the first part of Phase B is devoted to create protocols as well as support checklists for modelling complex real systems, taking care of forecasting, management alternatives, market scenario and conditions as well as dynamic action impact. The modelling approach is devoted to be tailored in this specific area for guarantee to reduce development time and costs in case of future application of this innovative methodology in order to benefit possible users.
The Implementation phase is focused on creating protocols and supports for integrating and implementing the conceptual models in order to create integrated simulators; also in this case particular attention is devoted to guarantee to develop quickly and effectively reliable simulators.
Italian and Mexican teams will work remotely in this phase, however some exchange will be devoted to guarantee co-ordination, while long visits will focus on enhancing the experience skills share and the research effectiveness on the two countries.
Phase C: Experimental Case Studies and Final Results
LESMEC last phase is devoted to experience in two real case studies the effectiveness of the proposed M&S approach for Production Planning; the experiments will be performed in a Mexican and in an Italian real case in order to evaluate benefits, problems critical issues was well to quantify the real improvement for the final users.
The comparison of the two cases will highlight the different benefits in Mexico and Italy and will provide some additional feed-back on this research.
The final results will be exploited by two seminars devoted to present and promote the techniques as well as the experimental results in the scientific community and in the potential user community.
Italian and Mexican teams will complete experiments working remotely, but operating with a visitor of the other team for a long stay in order to speedup this task during the most critical phase of the analysis; short visits will be used in order to support the seminar activity.