Manufacturing Simulation, or more accurately, Discrete Event Simulation (DES), is an important problem-solving methodology for the solution of many real-world problems in the manufacturing industry. Implementation of DES has become successful in a number of industrial sectors. However, the wood manufacturing industries constitute an industrial sector where DES has still not made a breakthrough. At the same time there is a strong need for development within the sector of the wood manufacturing industries, working with the refinement of, for example, sawn boards into components and consumer products. It can be questioned, why DES cannot be used in these industries? The objective of this work has been to investigate conditions in the development process of new wood manufacturing systems. This covers the period from when the new system mainly exists as an idea or concept, up to the point when its specifications are finalised. If DES can be integrated in these early development stages, it also highlights an unusual application area of DES, where it is used in the design process. To approach this problem the following references have been used: general trends and possibilities within the modelling and simulation of manufacturing systems, a technique that is undergoing rapid development. the unique properties of wood and wood processing that need to be considered in connection with the use of DES. the organisation of development activities that are extensively based on computer tools, enabling a virtual representation of the manufacturing system. In order to validate these domains, an ongoing industrial development project has served as a reference to industrial reality. This considers a case study on the development of a new wood flooring industry, a project that covers a period of 3 years. In order to find potential use for DES, a separate simulation project was initiated. Its purpose was to verify the final specifications of the plant, which were developed using conventional industrial methods. The simulation project showed that the specifications developed by the industry could be radically improved. Thus the simulation tool also became involved in actual design work that generated a number of design improvements to the real system. It was also shown that visualisation in the DES tool constitutes a vital feature in the design process, verifying detailed design of layout and equipment in the context of material flow dynamics. The kind of wood manufacturing studied embraces extensive material handling, which could be reproduced in detail, "true-to-scale" in 3D, by the simulation tool used. From a technical perspective it can be established that DES constitutes a valuable resource for the development of a wood manufacturing system. However, the determining factor for whether DES will be more frequently used in the wood industry, is how it is incorporated into development activities; this is a concern for the management of the industry. Thus there is a need for a descriptive model that addresses DES, and other tools within the domain of virtual manufacturing, with regard to activities and stages reached in the development. Such a model would provide considerable guidance in the management of industrial development, not only in the wood industry.
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2002. , 80 p.