Many industries are at a turning point due to the global trends of digitalization, globalization and decarbonization, increasing the demands on production …

Simulation of production scenarios: optimization of a machine park for cable harness manufacturing

Many industries are at a turning point due to the global trends of digitalization, globalization, and decarbonization, as a result of which the demands on production capacities are constantly increasing and becoming more complex in the process. New demands on machine parks, especially in discrete manufacturing, lie, for example, in the production of different smaller quantities, but with a simultaneously broader portfolio offering and increasing cost pressure. This requires a significant change in production processes and the setup of the machinery. In the automotive industry, the production of wire harnesses plays a decisive role, as these are essential for wiring within vehicles. With the shift towards electromobility and the increasing complexity of vehicle wiring, automotive plants and suppliers are facing new challenges.

The multitude of new requirements increases the complexity in the strategic further development and planning of production capacities. Questions regarding capacities, new technological approaches or future investment planning must be answered in the overall context. The simulation of production in factories provides optimal support in finding answers and eliminating costly misdirection. Any decisions can be run through and validated by the factory simulation with the help of a digital twin on a virtual model.

The challenge

Realignment of production capacities due to innovation and trends

The entire automotive industry is undergoing a major technological shift away from the internal combustion engine toward electromobility. Manufacturers in the entire industry are having to rethink for the long term. The technological change is resulting in new requirements for our customers in terms of the cable harnesses to be manufactured. Due to the increasing digitalization in the vehicle itself as well as the changed drive concept, there is an increased demand for cable harnesses, which additionally leads to changed specifications of the product. The production capacities of our customer had to be realigned for this purpose, while continuing to serve the existing business in parallel.

To achieve an ideal production realignment, it is not enough to plan the complex setup of production resources without the help of digital services and products. Questions such as “Where is which machine best positioned?”, “How is this integrated into the material flow and intralogistics?” or “How are the various machines interlinked in the production process to achieve the desired output?” had to be answered at this point.

Often there are several draft scenarios that have to be compared with each other to ensure the best possible overall output. Decision criteria here are, for example, the investment requirements, operating costs, maximum achievable quantities, and the robustness of the process against unplanned downtime.

The solution

Factory simulation by evosoft for digital conception and evaluation of production scenarios

With the help of the factory simulation and the digital image, the customer can test different production scenarios for the manufacture of its various wire harness production lines within a short time and thus obtain performance forecasts. For this purpose, a specially developed process model is used, which makes it possible to develop an individual simulation model together with the customer, on the basis of which well-founded decisions can be made.

At the beginning, expectations and questions regarding the simulation were worked out and formulated. All necessary data were collected and included in the simulation. If some data are not available ad hoc, they can be measured and recorded in the existing production. The collected data as well as the information from new machines or a planned relocation of production were transferred into a simulation model in the Siemens software Tecnomatix Plant Simulation. For this purpose, various model libraries from the software can already be used, which facilitate and accelerate the process.

The initial factory simulation model was then jointly verified and serves as the basis for discussing further options for the optimal production setup. Various alternative scenarios emerged from this and were mapped in the simulation model. From this, it was possible to generate various reports, for example for material flow, resource availability or energy requirements.

The result

Well-founded final decision for the optimal installation of your production plant

The simulation model developed by our customer in the wire harness manufacturing sector provided a clear target for the reorganization of the machine park, which was used to realistically simulate various production orders and provide investment security. As a result, bottlenecks in the material flow and intralogistics could be identified and eliminated at an early stage. In addition, energy consumption and production availability could be determined and confirmed by simulation.

The factory simulation provides an optimal basis for decision-making and offers a clear target picture that can be easily communicated with all parties involved, such as management, logistics or the machine supplier. The model also serves as a reference to the existing production and allows a comparison of the expectations with the real results during ongoing production. If deviations occur, the existing simulation is the ideal tool for analyzing and planning further measures.

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