Design & development of a simulation model to analyse scheduling rules in an FMS in a virtual manufacturing environment : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Technology in Manufacturing and Industrial Technology at Massey University
Due to the rapid changes in the needs of the customer for new products, the future manufacturing systems must cope with these changes. Hence, the need for the manufacturing systems to support these changes in the products with shorter lead times within a single manufacturing facility. The Virtual Manufacturing System (VMS) is one concept which can assist in meeting these demands. The VMS concept enables the manufacturing system designers to emulate and test the performance of the future manufacturing systems. This research has given an overview of the new concepts of Virtual Manufacturing Systems and Virtual Manufacturing in general. A Virtual Reality Software tool has been used to realise the VMS concept. A Virtual Manufacturing Environment representing a Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) has been modelled. A simulation control language is employed for developing simulation control logics and decision making control logics for the development of the FMS model. The modelled FMS is implemented and tested through simulation experiments. The testing is done by analysing the traditional scheduling rules in a manufacturing facility. Average Machine Utilisation, Mean Flow Time, Average Queue Lengths and the System Production Rate are measured as the System Performance Measures for the evaluation of the scheduling rules. This research has identified that the Virtual Manufacturing Software is a powerful tool which can identify optimum configurations and highlight potential problems before a final and expensive manufacturing system is established physically.