Within the research project LEGOLAS, INOSIM, together with the Fraunhofer Institut für Materialfluss und Logistik, Dortmund, Germany, the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany, and two German logistics providers is developing a planning assistance system for tomorrow’s flexible, modular logistical systems. During the latest months, the project partners have successfully passed several milestones, with the new Packaged Goods Abilities of INOSIM Simulators proving to be particularly useful.
Rethinking the Design Process
The design of the planning process that will support the assistance system has been successfully finished by Fraunhofer IML and INOSIM. The planning assistance system will support the development or improvement of logistical systems, the failure analysis and management as well as the turnaround planning. The system is based on an intuitively made drag-and-drop layout of logistical system alternatives, applying a comprehensive and filterable module library which supports a wide range of logistical process steps. The evolved system alternatives are automatically checked by means of fixed criteria, aiming to uncover possible inconsistencies already in the design stage.
For an objective decision support, the planning assistance system will enable an analysis and evaluation of the system alternatives created which are based on dynamic simulation using INOSIM software. By the help of the new packaged goods simulator, users can easily model even highly complex logistical systems and integrate them seamlessly with the models of their production processes. The simulation-based evaluation will provide the users with valuable information on the system behavior, answering questions like “Which throughput will I reach with my logistical system?”, “How vulnerable is the system performance regarding failures?”, “Does my logistical system comply with the expected production?”, “Do I have to add modules?” or “How can I maintain modules without shutting off the complete system?”.
Prototyping an Assistance System for Modular Logistics
In order to demonstrate the advantages of the dynamical simulation of modular logistical systems, INOSIM has implemented a case study by project partner IMPERIAL LOGISTICS INTERNATIONAL, Duisburg on the filling of herbicides and fungicides based on the new Packaged Goods modules. By applying the model, INOSIM was able to demonstrate that logistics simulation enables an objective and comprehensive analysis of modular logistical systems, promptly providing the planning assistance systems’ users with relevant key figures for decision support.
At the moment, the project partners are developing a prototype of the assistance system. Furthermore, modules are added to the library which aim to cover all relevant logistical process steps. Afterwards, the system will be validated by realistic case studies from production logistics and then be demonstrated.