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FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator

Article  in  European Journal of Operational Research · February 1991

DOI: 10.1016/0377-2217(91)90131-E · Source: RePEc


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European Journal of Operational Research 53 (1991) 149 165 149

Theory and Methodology

FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system

Erol Gelenbe and Hatim Guennouni
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en lnformatique, UniversitO RenO Descartes, 45 rue des Saints POres, 75006 Paris,

Abstract: We present a general portable simulation tool called FLEXSIM which is designed to evaluate
certain classes of flexible manufacturing systems. The originality of our tool is that it achieves the
independence between the data model which represents the whole FMS and the simulation model itself by
using a relational database management system to define the system being simulated. Thus, the tool has a
user interface which is composed of a database management system geared specifically to handle the FMS
simulator. This approach has two major advantages: the database interface can be coupled directely to the
manufacturing database of a real FMS system, and the user of the tool can address it directly using the
terminology and the data representation related to the real FMS being simulated. Furthermore, the use of
a relational database system provides automatic verification of the consistency and completeness of the
system model which is being simulated. FLEXSIM runs under the Unix Sys V and Unix Bsd4.3 operating
systems; it is therefore a portable tool.

Keywords: Manufacturing systems, simulations, performance evaluation

1. Introduction Each workstation is able to perform several auto-

mated operations with the help of computer com-
Flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) are mands which control the machine-tools at the
highly computerized and automated production workstation and the automatic tool-changing
systems. Flexibility implies the system's capability mechanism. The computer-controlled transporta-
of processing different types of parts. Conse- tion system organizes the movement of parts by
quently a flexible manufacturing system can react using automated guided-vehicles or some other
quickly to market changes, and should be able to system (conveyors, etc.). All decisions concerning
meet different goals such as minimizing transport, manufacturing and the entering of parts
turnaround times, optimizing machine utilization, into the system are made by the flexible manufac-
improving part quality and lowering intermediate turing system controller.
stock levels. In Sections 1.1 and 1.2 we describe briefly the
A flexible manufacturing system consists of a class of FMS which are considered in this paper
set of workstations and of a material, tool and and which can be simulated using FLEXSIM.
part transport system linking the workstations. Such systems have been described extensively in
the literature [6,8,17].
Simulation is central to the design and oper-
Received July 1988: revised September 1989 ation of flexible manufacturing systems. Therefore

0377-2217/91/$03.50 ,i!3 1991 - Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. (North-Holland)

150 E. Gelenbe, 14. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator

there is a large body of literature on the subject, description of the FMS being simulated, with all
including [2,3,5,9-12,15,16,18-20,22]. In [18,20] that this implies for consistency verification, com-
the use of existing simulation languages is de- pleteness, etc., and (b) to provide an interface
scribed. In [11,15] general principles for FMS representation as close as possible to the view the
simulation are described, while [2] outlines some user would have of a real FMS information sys-
desirable features of such simulators and discusses tem. Thus FLEXSIM can be also used to help the
the systems which were available at the time that designer of the real FMS database system in mak-
paper was written. An earlier paper [3] comes ing proper database choices in conjunction with
close to the topic of our paper; it indicates that performance considerations; furthermore, if the
having a database system in conjunction with a real FMS database already exists, the information
simulator can enhance the flexibility of the simu- it contains may be transposed into F L E X S I M ' s
lation tool, in particular with respect to processing database.
the data collected during simulation. This a fea- The following functions are carried out by
ture which is available in FLEXSIM, the system FLEXSIM:
described in our paper, but which is just one • Verifying the completeness and consistency
aspect of the use of a database system for FMS of the FMS specification provided by the designer
simulation as we understand and propose it. In of the FMS system and introduced into FLEX-
[5,16,22] various specific FMS simulation tools are SIM by the user; the FMS designer and the user
described. In [16] a menu oriented graphical inter- of F L E X S I M may of course be the same person or
face is proposed to the simulator. In [22] a per- the same group of people
sonal computer oriented simulation system using • Providing quantitative data such as produc-
graphical input and output is described. In [5] a tion rates, machine utilization, manufacturing bot-
system which uses a user-friendly menu driven tlenecks, buffer storage, as a function of system
interface to a model written in SLAM is de- parameters.
scribed. • Identifying and reporting undesirable situa-
Our approach differs from these preceding ap- tions such as buffer blocking, deadlocks, etc.
proaches in several respects as indicated below. • Analyzing the effects of modifying physical
The purpose of this paper is to present a model- system and workload parameters.
ing and simulation tool for FMS systems. This • Testing and optimizing different manufactur-
modeling system, called FLEXSIM, has been con- ing strategies.
ceived as a computer aided design and evaluation Various simulated scenarios can be investigated
tool for FMS systems, and is based on a novel using FLEXSIM by acting on the storage space at
idea which is the interdependence between the the workstations, the number of machines, the
database representation model for an FMS system distances between the workstations, the part and
and its simulation model. We have interfaced a type combination, the service disciplines of the
manufacturing database with a simulator so that input and output buffer queues at the worksta-
the designer of an FMS can change the configura- tions, the routing sequence of part types and so
tion of its configuration without knowledge of the on.
structure of the simulator. The manufacturing
database, which is represented and implemented
by FLEXSIM in a relational database manage- 1.1. The physical system
ment system. The simulation model allows the
designer to investigate the FMS in detail and The class of considered FMS systems are com-
predicts its performance with high precision. posed of a set of workstations and a transporta-
FLEXSIM does not make use of existing simu- tion system, designed to process a set of workpieces
lation packages (such as SLAM, M A P / 1 or GPSS) or parts. In this section we shall describe the
so as to maintain the highest possible degree of assumptions which are made by F L E X S I M con-
flexibility. Though a menu-driven interface could cerning the various components of the FMS sys-
be added our system, our main objective in the use tems considered. These restrictions are not funda-
of a relational database as the user interface is to mental with respect to our general approach. They
(a) provide a formal and logical scheme for the are merely restrictions concerning the particular
E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing ~vstem simulator 151

implementation of FLEXSIM which is being de- and therefore several different types of pallets can
scribed. be used by a part during the manufacturing pro-
Workstations. The stations consist of computer cess. After a part is rotated we assume that we are
controlled machine-tools with local tool storage dealing with a new type of part. Each pallet type
and a part handling mechanism or robot which is assigned to only one part type.
moves parts and tools between local resources. Each part type is processed in a hypothetically
Each workstation has an input buffer and an uniform sequence of principal phases. Each phase
output buffer with finite capacity. The first re- needs one pallet type, is assigned to one worksta-
ceives parts for processing, while the latter stores tion, and uses a sequence of operations. An oper-
parts waiting for another destination. There are ation requires a tool and uses a part program
also other types of stations such as loading/ module defined as a set of program macro calls
unloading (LU) stations, washing stations, or in- which are stored in computer controlled machine-
spection stations. tools. In summary, each part type is processed
Material transportation system. This system during a fixed number of principal phases. We
transports parts and tools from one station to assume that the first and last phases are always
another. In the present version of FLEXSIM we the loading and unloading phases, respectively.
assume that all tools necessary to manufacture Any part which enters the system must respect
parts on machines are stored locally so that we do the order of these phases. The dynamic aspect
not need a tool transportation system. The part which exists in this manufacturing strategy is the
transportation system considered is a unidirec- possibility of replacing one principal phase by its
tional closed loop which uses pallets to support alternate phase when a part cannot be admitted to
parts and move them between workstations (see the principal one, or when the principal phase is
Figure 1). Pallets can be of different types accord- not considered to be the most appropriate course
ing to the parts they handle. of action when the decision has to be taken. This
Properties of the parts. At the LU station, each may occur for reasons related to the load of the
entering part is mounted on a pallet. Then the system, or for performance optimization. The op-
part attached to the pallet circulates in the system eration sequence carried out on the alternate
and a variety of operations are carried out on it. workstation is not necessarily the same as the one
In order to process the different of the part, it may which belongs to the principal workstation but the
have to be rotated during its processing within the manufactured parts which result are identical in
system. This is carried out only at the LU station both cases.

1.2. The control system

The essential core of the flexible manufacturing

system software is the control system. In general,
Station ~ I Machining it is implemented as a collection of distributed
Station controllers. It controls the release of parts to the
system at the LU station, routes parts through the
Inspection required workstations, redirects them to the alter-
nate workstation when some problems, such as a
temporary bottleneck, occur at specific stations
Washing Machining and finally sends the parts to the LU station for
Station Station subsequent departure from the system. All of the
system's controllers are integrated through a local
communication network.

Loading/Unloading 2. The simulation tool F L E X S I M

Figure 1. An example of a FMS with a unidirectional closed In this section we shall describe the main con-
loop part transportation system siderations which have led to the design decisions
152 E. Gelenbe, 11. Guennouni / FLEXS1M: A flexible manufacturing system simulator

Manufacturin~ constructing a relational database representing this

Database --- Pepin DBMS information. Secondly, we link the database with
(MDB) ] the simulator using an interpreter module, called
PEAL [13], specifically designed in relation to the
PEPIN system, which translates the macro-state-
ments of the database into the different proce-
l Interpreter _ dures and function calls which compose the run-
Module [- -- Peal interpreter time code of the PEPIN relational database
management system.
FLEXSIM is thus constructed from the follow-

SIMULATOR -- Pascal language
ing components: a relational database (MDB)
which is a close representation of a real manufac-
turing database, an interpreter which maps the
database contents into simulation control data
and finally the discrete event simulator itself (Fig-
Figure 2. The structure of the simulation tool FLEXSIM ure 2).

in FLEXSIM. Because large quantities of data are 2.1. The manufacturing database of F L E X S I M
manipulated by a comprehensive simulation
model, we have chosen to organize most of this The manufacturing database (MDB) used in
data in the form of a relational database [21]. The FLEXSIM includes only static information which
particular database system used in the PEPIN is available to the FMS designer. It is a relational
system described in [14]. Thus the users of database implemented using the PEPIN relational
FLEXSIM can change the FMS configuration very database management system. The MDB includes
easily without affecting the code of the simulation the following information:
program. • The characteristics of part types and the
To describe all entities which must be in- quantities of parts to be handled by the system.
tegrated in an FMS simulator, our approach con- • The sequence of machining phases and basic
sists in first examining its information system and operations.

PHASE_TYPAL (codphase,phiprec,phisuiv,co dtypal)
TYPAL (codtypal,codtypi)
OPERATION (codop,duree)
OP_OUT(codop,codtyout }
STATION (numst,idnoe,nomst,typst,kpamont,kpaval)
MACHINE (codmach,numst,tpspospal,tpspivpal,tpschgout)
TRONCON (idtrc,tparcours)
Figure 3. The relational schema of the manufacturing database
E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM." A flexible manufacturing ,~vstem simulator 153

• The timing characteristics of the machine- use if for some reasons the principal phase cannot
tools, including their setup time. be adopted, is found in the A L T P H A S E relation.
• The capacities of different workstations to In the PHASE relation a phase is associated to a
store and to manufacture parts. station (numst) and has a priority (prior). A
• The topology of the part transportation sys- wastage rate (txdech) measured for each part type
tem. and depending on the machining phase is intro-
We integrate the system's dynamic information duced. The rank (rang) of operations which be-
such as the stage reached by a part, the machine- long to each phase is defined in the OPSVT rela-
tool in use and so on, directly in the simulator tion, whereas the duration of each operation
data structure to achieve faster access and to (duree) is included in the O P E R A T I O N relation.
avoid interaction with the relational MDB during With the help of the codtyout and adrpgmop at-
simulation. All the components of the physical tributes found in the OP O U T and P G M rela-
system are described via relations. A simplified tion, respectively, FLEXSIM provides the possi-
version of a relevant FLEXSIM database schema bility to specify both the tool type and the mac-
is shown in Figure 3 where we list all of the hining program necessary for each basic oper-
relational schema. The meaning and use of this ation. The txpgm attribute indicates whether the
schema is explained below. machine-tool will spend time in pallet positioning
To set the quantity of parts (called the qte before performing the operation.
attribute) to be manufactured for each part type The S T A T I O N and M A C H I N E relations de-
we define the T Y P E P I E C E relation. In certain scribe the workstations and the machine-tools,
cases, it may be desirable to stop the simulation respectively. The buffer capacities of workstations
only when a desired level of confidence has been are represented by the kpamont and kpaval attri-
obtained from the simulation results, and this butes which designate respectively the maximum
cannot be known until the simulation run us actu- capacities to store parts at the input and the
ally taking place; if the user of FLEXSIM request output of each workstation (i.e. the input and
this option, then this quantity is simply used to output buffer). The typst attribute specifies the
calculate the proportion of each part type rather type of the station (i.e. machining, washing, con-
than the total number of items of this part type trol . . . . ). We notice that the M A C H I N E relation
which must be produced before the simulation can indicates different characteristics of machine-tools
stop. The TYPE PIECE relation also includes the such as tool changing time (tpschgout) or pallet
name which designates the part type (nmtypi). For positioning time (tpspospal) on the machining ta-
quality inspection, we must fix the percentage of ble.
parts which pass through the control station; this We use three relations to represent the part
information is specified by the txctl attribute. transportation system when it is represented as a
It also may include more general information unidirectional closed loop. The O R I G I N E and
about a part such as: D E S T I N A T I O N relation give the successive seg-
the nature of the raw material used, ments (idtrc)joining the origin mode to the de-
roughness of the surface of the part, stination node. Each node (idnoe) designates the
tolerances concerning the position of the part, unique input-output point for each station on the
its shape; the quality of the parts clearly depends closed loop as indicated in the S T A T I O N relation.
on these tolerances. The third relation, called T R O N C O N , specifies
For each part type, its phase routing sequences for each segment which joins two successive origin
are identified in the PHASE T Y P A L relation and destination nodes, the transit time on the loop
using two pointers which indicate the preceding (tpspar-cours) of the segment. Other relations such
phase and the next phase (phiprec, phisuiu). Since as TOOL, can be defined for further extensions of
each part may be fixed on a distinct pallet, a pallet the simulation model to take into account tool
code codtypal has been introduced as an attribute characteristics such as wear or aging.
of the PHASE T Y P A L relation. This field also Once the designer has specified all of these
links the PHASE relation to the T Y P A L relation relations and entered the corresponding data, the
which describe the types of pallets. relational database management system incorpo-
An alternative phase, i.e. one which a piece will rated into FLEXSIM will automatically verify the
154 E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator

data for completeness, and identify inconsistencies a given time instant, while a closed system oper-
in the relations or in the data which have been ates with a fixed number of parts.
A. The F M S modeled as an open system
2.2. The simulator user interface In this operating mode the user must define the
flow of arrivals of parts into the system. The user
Initially the simulator extracts the information can choose an arrival process which is either de-
necessary for a simulation run from the database. terministic by specifying the length of the time
Its queries are formulated in algebraic relational interval between successive arrivals, or stochastic
language, using the PEAL preprocessor [13], in (Poisson arrival process or Erlang interarrival
terms of relational operations such as selection, times). FLEXSIM examines the blocking prob-
join, projection, union, intersection, etc. This ini- lems due to the load on the system and the capac-
tial information concerns: ity of workstations [4,7]. F L E X S I M indicates if
• The resources of the FMS being simulated the arrival rate causes blocking of the system; it
such as stations, machine-tools and the transport provides the 'blocking rate' defined as the smallest
system. arrival rate, in number of parts per unit time,
• The objects which are being acted upon, which causes blocking at some workstation.
especially the parts, their principal routing se- FLEXSIM automatically varies the arrival rate of
quence and the different alternate manufacturing pieces into the system and plots a curve which
sequences. represents the evolution of the blocking rate as a
For instance, to obtain the sequence of the function of the arrival rate. It also measures the
principal phases for part type P1, we use the two turnaround time which is the mean time spent by
following operations: a part in the system and the throughput which is
1. Selection operation in T Y P A L relation with simply the number of finished parts per unit time
codtypi = ' PI'. departing from the simulated system. Two curves
2. Join operation between the resulting relation which represents the behavior of these rates as a
from the first step and the P H A S E _ T Y P A L rela- function of the arrival rate are plotted automati-
tion using the codtypal attribute. cally. In all cases reports provide information
FLEXSIM is called using appropriate U N I X about the utilization rate of machines, average
commands. There are different options which per- queue lengths and the rate at which parts may be
mit some additional facilities introduced to help rejected at stations which are full. This rate is the
the user of the system. The principal facility con- number of parts per unit time which were forced
cerns the 'debug option' which allows the user of to use the alternate phase. The statistical confi-
FLEXSIM to enter lower level representations dence intervals are computed for all the measures.
and obtain more detailed information. The simu-
lator FLEXSIM requires that the deterministic B. The F M S modeled as a closed system
policy or random process used to release parts In this case the number of parts in the system is
into the system be specified. The name of the kept constant during a simulation run by intro-
manufacturing database as well as the names of ducing a new part each time a part leaves the
the result files have to be specified at this time, system after having been completely processed.
otherwise default names are taken [9]. At the end FLEXSIM asks the user to specify the number of
of the simulation run, FLEXSIM provides reports parts to be kept constant for a particular simula-
on the performance of the FMS being modeled. tion run. As described before, F L E X S I M mea-
The simulator provides two possibilities for sures the blocking problems and outputs the rate
modelling a flexible manufacturing system, either of blocking at each workstation for each trial
as an open system or as a closed system. These which is performed with a fixed numbers of parts.
terms are used in the usual sense: an open system An appropriate curve is plotted. F L E X S I M calcu-
receives parts from the outside world and the lates and reports the turnaround time and
finished parts are returned to the outside world throughout. Two other curves are also plotted
without being able to determine a priori the num- with this model representing both the turnaround
ber of parts which will be present in the system at time and the throughput as a function of the
E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXS1M: A flexible manufacturing system simulator 155

number of parts. The statistical confidence inter- ing' to mean placing a piece on a pallet after its
vals of the simulation are also given. processing or machining is completed), and trans-
port modules. The event list provides the super-
Remark visor with the information necessary to activate
FLEXSIM has the capability of storing the the different tasks which correspond to each event.
results of simulation runs into files. This is a The simulator is driven by three types of events:
useful feature in relation to some existing U N I X 1. Arrival-of-part to the station.
utility programs such as PLOT and G R A P H which 2. End-of-machining of a part.
can be used to produce graphical output informa- 3. Entering-of-part in the system.
tion. When the first type of event occurs the trans-
port module is activated, and the part is stored in
2.3. The simulator kernel the input buffer of the station. If there is an idle
machine at the station, the part is immediately
The simulator kernel implements an accurate processed by it and its future end-of-machining
simulation model which represents detailed real- event is scheduled. The output buffer is scanned
world system behavior of the FMS as specified in and the sending condition is verified for each part
the MDB. Nevertheless, problems of reliability located in this buffer to transfer it to its destina-
and system failure resulting from tool and mac- tion station and to schedule the corresponding
hine breakdowns are ignored. future arrival event. This condition must take into
The simulation kernel is based on three mod- account the following parameters:
ules and a scheduler (Figure 4). The supervisor 1. The storage capacity of the input buffer of
module is linked to the two other modules: the the station.
transport and machining modules; it also manages 2. The end-of-machining times on the ma-
the activities and resources of the simulator. chines belonging to the station.
The simulator is programmed in PASCAL using 3. The number of parts moving on the trans-
the well known discrete event simulation tech- port system to the station.
nique [1]. The events which cause the transition The occurrence of the end-of-machining event
between two real world system states are listed activates the machining program. The processed
and the state reached by the system is specified in part is stored in the output buffer and if there are
the future event list scheduler which maintains a waiting parts in the input buffer, the part which
chronological order of events generated by the has the highest priority is processed and the end-
machining/palletizing (we use the term 'palletiz- of-machining event is scheduled for the selected
part. Then the output buffer is also scanned and
In the case of the palletizing operation it is
assumed that the number of pallets is unlimited.
~upervis -~imulator/
The entering part event has the same effect as
the part arrival event, except that it is an external
/'Maehining/~ Blocking can occur in two cases:
I Palletizing [ • The input buffer of the loading/unloading
station is saturated.
• The output buffer of the workstation cannot
receive the part which has just been processed.

3. A case study
Future Event List F E L~
,ill I,,, Sch;a l In this section we illustrate the external behav-
ior of F L E X S I M by using a simple example based
Figure 4. Simulator Architecture on the system shown in Figure 1.
156 E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator

We present in Table l a - e the complete manu- spond to a given station. For instance, station 1
facturing database of the system shown in Figure (i.e. S1) contains the TUS1 and FRS1 machines.
1. The FMS configuration consists of three mac- The time to change tools and the time to set up
hining stations (S1, $2 and $4) where the the pallet and part on the machining table are
processing of parts is carried out, one LU station given.
(SP), one inspection station (SC) and finally one In this example, the set of pallets and parts
washing station (SL). Each station has an input move in a unidirectional closed loop which serves
and an output buffer; buffer sizes are shown in all stations. The transit time necessary to traverse
the STATION relation. the segment which connects two workstations is
The nodes assigned to the stations also appear given in the T R O N C O N relation using the
in the STATION relation. From the M A C H I N E O R I G I N and D E S T I N A T I O N relations.
relation we can deduce all machines which corre- In this example, three part types P1, P2 and P3

Table l a

STATION relation M A C H I N E relation

0 0 SP PAL 3 3 TUS1 1 2.0 3.0 1.2
1 1 S1 US1 2 2 FRS1 1 2.0 4.0 1.3
2 2 $2 US1 3 4 FHS2 2 3.0 4.0 1.6
3 3 SC CT1 2 2 TOS2 2 1.5 3.4 2.0
4 4 $4 US1 2 2 ALS2 2 2.4 3.6 2.2
5 5 SL LAV 2 2 CTRL 3 3.2 2.7 1.4
FHS4 4 2 3.0 1.8
PES4 4 2.7 2.7 2.0
LAVA 5 2.0 3.0 1.5
PAL1 0 1.0 1.0 0.5
PAL2 0 1.0 1.0 0.3

Table l b

T R O N C O N relation O R I G I N E relation D E S T I N A T I O N relation


T01 1.0 0 T01 0 T50
TI 2 2.0 1 T12 1 T01
T24 2.0 2 T24 2 T12
T43 1.0 4 T43 4 T24
T35 1.0 5 T35 3 T43
T50 1.0 5 T50 5 T35

Table l c

T Y P E _ PIECE relation TYPA L relation A L T P H A S E relation

1 PI 0.1 100000 1 1 PHIS2 PHIPS4
2 P2 0.1 100000 2 3 PH1S1 PH1PS2
3 P3 0.1 100000 3 2 PH2S2 PH2PS4
4 2 PH2S2 PH2PS4
Table l d

P H A S E _ T Y P A L relation OPSVT relation P H A S E relation

PH ! SP FFFF PH 1$2 1 OPAL/ PH1SP 00000EEA 0 PH1S2 2 1 0.05
PH1S2 PH1SP PH1S1 1 OP1 $2 PH1 $2 00010000 0 P H I S1 1 1 0.05
PH1S1 PH1S2 PH1S4 1 OP1S1 PH1S1 00010A02 0 PH1S4 4 1 0.05
PH1S4 PH1S1 PH1SC 1 OP1S4 PH1S4 00010BD3 0 PH1SC 3 1 0.0
PH1Sc PH1S4 PH1PSP 1 OP1SC PH1SC 0001AFB0 0 PH1PS4 4 1 0.05
PH1PSP PH1SC FFFF 1 OP3S4 PH1PS4 0001F000 0 PH1PS2 2 1 0.05
PH3SP FFFF PH2S1 3 OP33S2 PH1PS2 0001000A 0 PH2S1 1 1 0.05
PH2S1 PH3SP PH2SC 3 OP12PS2 PH1PS2 000AF000 1 PH2S2 2 1 0.05
PH2SC PH2S1 PH4SP 3 DEPAL1 PH1PSP 00001E00 0 PH2SC 3 1 0.0
PH4SP PH2SC PH2S2 4 OPAL3 PH3SP 0000FDA9 0 PH2SL 5 1 0.05 r~
PH2S2 PH4SP PH2SL 4 OP2S1 PH2S1 000F1000 0 PH2PS2 2 1 0.05
PH2SL PH2S2 PHdSP 4 OP2S2 PH2S2 000F000A 0 PH2PS4 4 1 0.05
PH4PSP PH2SL FFFF 4 OP2SC PH2SC 000BFOA1 0 PH3S2 2 1 0.05
PH2SP FFFF PH3S2 2 OP2SL PH2SL 000AFFFF 0 PH3S4 4 1 0.05
PH3S2 PH2SP PH3S4 2 D EP A L3 PH4SP 00001F00 0 PH2SC 3 1 0.0
PH3S4 PH3S2 PH2SC 2 O P A L4 PH4SP 0000120F 1 PH3SL 5 1 0.05
PH3SC PH3S4 PH3SL 2 OP2S2 PH2PS2 000DF000 0 PH3PS1 1 1 0.05
PH3SL PH3SC PH2PSP 2 OP2PS4 PH2PS4 00AOF000 0 PH1PSP 0 2 0.0
PH2PSP PH3SL FFFF 2 DEPAL4 PH4PSP 000032E0 0 PH1SP 0 0 0.0
OPAL2 PH2SP 0000F060 0 PH2SP 0 0 0.0
OP1S1 PH3S2 010000FA 0 PH3SP 0 0 0.0 0~

OP32S2 PH3S2 00000FFF 1 PH4SP 0 1 0.05

0P33S2 PH3S2 00000BA0 2 PH2PSP 0 2 0.0
OP3S4 PH3S4 0001F000 0 PH4PSP 0 2 0.0
OP3SC PH3SC 00124A00 0
OP3SL PH3SL 00200000 0
OP31PS] PH3PS1 003A0000 0
OP32PS1 PH3PS1 003AC00D 1
DEPAL2 PH2PSP 00003B00 0
158 E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator

Table le
OPERATION relation OP_ OUT relation PGM _ OP relation
OPAL1 0.5 OP1$2 391.05.16-50-030 00010000 TOURNER1 0.5
OPIS2 0.62 OP1S1 391.05-23-50-030 00010A02 PERCER_ 2 0.5
OPIS1 1.04 OPI $4 391.05-23-50-020 00010BD3 TARAUDER 0.5
OP1S4 0.6 OP1SC 491.05-40-50-030 0001AFB0 CONTROL1 0.5
OP1SC 0.28 OP12PS2 391.05-22-63-040 0001F000 TOURNER2 0.5
OPI PS4 1.02 OP2S1 391.05-27-63-030 0001000A ALESER_ 1 0.5
OP11PS2 1.24 OP2S2 391.05-32-63-030 000AF000 PERCER_ 1 0.5
OP12PS2 0.87 OP2SC 491.05-40-63-030 000F1000 FRAISER1 0.5
DEPAL1 0.25 OP2SL 800.0.5-22-80-030 000F000A FRAISER2 0.5
OPAL3 0.20 OP2PS4 391.05-32-80-030 000BFOA1 CONTROL1 0.5
OP2S1 0.64 OP32S2 391.05-60-80-030 000AFFFF LAVER 2 0.5
OP2S2 0.71 OP33S2 391.05-70-80-030 000DF000 FRAISER2 0.5
OP2SC 0.25 OP3S4 391.05-40-50-025 00AOF000 FRAISER4 0.5
OP2SL 0.32 OP3SC 491.05-70-63-030 010000FA PERCER 2 0.5
DEPAL3 0.15 OP3SL 800.05-70-50-025 00000FFF ALESER_ 2 0.5
OPAL4 0.45 OP31PS1 391.05-32-50-025 00000BA0 ALESER _ 1 0.5
OP2PS2 0.69 OP32PS1 391.05-32-63-025 00124A00 CONTROL3 0.5
OP2PS4 0.83 OPAL1 SPECIAL1 00200000 LAVER 3 0.5
DEPAL4 0.2 OPAL2 SPECIAL2 0001F 0 0 0 TOURNER2 0.5
OPAL2 0.34 OPAL3 SPECIAL3 003A0000 PERCER 6 0.5
OP31 $2 1.18 OPAL4 SPECIAL4 003AC00D ALESER 3 0.5
OP32S2 0.47 DEPAL1 SPECIAL1 00000EEA PALET 1 0.5
OP33S2 0.43 DEPAL2 SPECIAL2 0000F050 PALET_ 2 0.5
OP3S4 0.70 DEPAL3 SPECIAL3 0000FDA9 PALET 3 0.5
OP2SC 0.27 DEPAL4 SPECIAL4 0000120F PALET_4 0.5
OP3SL 0.30 00001F00 DEPALET3 0.5
OP31PS1 0.82 00001E00 DEPALET1 0.5
OP32PS1 0.79 00003B00 DEPALET2 0.5
DEPAL2 0.18 000032E0 DEPALET4 0.5

( T Y P E _ P I E C E relation) are m a n u f a c t u r e d . The to 0) to d i s a d v a n t a g e the e n t e r i n g parts, a n d is

T Y P A L relation indicates that two pallet types, 3 higher ( P R I O R equal to 2) to u n l o a d i m m e d i a t e l y
a n d 4, are used by the part type P2, whereas the completed parts; thus, the queues at stations m a y
pallet type 1 is used by part type P1, a n d the be m a n a g e d with different disciplines. W i t h regard
pallet type 2 by the part type P3. F L E X S I M is to the alternative phases ( A L T P H A S E relation)
asked to simulate the p r o d u c t i o n of three part a n d in particular in the case of Part T y p e 1, we
types in equal n u m b e r s . All sequences of phases should m e n t i o n that two alternative PH1PS2 a n d
are shown in the P H A S E _ T Y P A L relation which PH1PS1 exist to replace the principal phases
also represents the c o r r e s p o n d i n g pallet types. Six P H I S 2 a n d P H I S 1 . The O P S V T relation describes
phases (PH1SP, P H I S 2 , PH1S1, PH1S4, PH1SC, the sequence of operations for each phase; i n this
P H I P S P ) , seven phases (PH3SP, PH2S1, PH2SC, relation a selection, for instance, to the PH3S2
PH4SP, PH2S2, PH2SL, P H 4 P S P ) a n d five phases phase gives the sequence of o p e r a t i o n s (OP1S1,
(PH2SP, PH3S2, PH3S4, PH3SL, PH2PSP) are OP32S2, OP33S2). F o r each o p e r a t i o n we specify
associated to part types P1, P2 a n d P3, respec- its d u r a t i o n ( O P E R A T I O N relation), the tool nec-
tively. The special F F F F code m e a n s that the essary to perform it ( O P _ O U T relation) a n d the
phase is undefined. p r o g r a m ( P G M _ O P relation) which carries out
I n the P H A S E relation, the wastage rates are the operation.
specified. We notice that the priority ( P R I O R Once the m a n u f a c t u r i n g d a t a b a s e has been
equal to 1) is always the same for the m a c h i n i n g completely specified in F L E X S I M , the resources
phases whereas the priority is lower ( P R I O R equal of the F M S a n d the r o u t i n g sequence of the part
I Open queueing network I
I Polsson arrivals I
I Arrival rate : 0.8 I
[ Real m a n u f a c t u r i n g time : 167d 22h 50m l
Report 1 (Rate = 0.8 )

>> Performance Measures

* Produced parts : 64600 *
* Throughput : 0.259[ 0.236, 0.288] *
* Blocking rate : 0.063[ 0.057, 0.07 } *
* Wastage rate : 0.05 [ 0.046, 0.056] *
* Turnaround time 63.873[ 60.787, 66.957] *

Report 2 (Rate = 0.8 )

Average number of parts in the system = 20.99 [ 20.587, 21.392]

>> Parts distribution

Part types Manufactured Discarded Blocked

1 23615 4131 2692
2 21998 4082 4512
3 18987 3078 8032

Total 64600 12092 15236


>> Pallets Distribution

Pallet types Used

1 13
3 9
4 I0
2 14

Total 46

Report 3 (Rate = 0.8 )


>> Input and Output Buffer Average Lengths

Stations Input Output

Sl 0.304 [ 0.274, 0.335] 0.434 [ 0.391, 0.477]
S2 1.218 [ 1.124, 1.313] 0.849 [ 0.764, 0.934]
S4 0.479 [ 0.431, 0.527] 0.759 [ 0.683, 0.835]
SP 1.288 [ 1.206, 1.37 ] 1.149 I 1.096, 1.202]
SL 0.543 [ 0.489, 0.598] 0.825 [ 0.743, 0.907]
SC 0. [ 0. , 0. ] 0.895 [ 0.809, 0.981]

>> Rejection rates

Stations Rejection rate

SI 0.479 [ 0.464, 0.495]
$2 0.545 [ 0.532, 0.557}
$4 0.665 [ 0.653, 0.676}
SP 0.407 [ 0.403, 0.412]
SL 0.708 [ 0.703, 0.714]
SC 0. l 0. , 0. ]


Machines Utilisation rate Service time

TUSI 0.779 [ 0.746, 0.811] 6.206 5.902, 6.509]
FRSI 0.786 [ 0.755, 0.818] 6.939 6.57 , 7.307]
FHS2 0.94 [ 0.919, 0.96 ] 11.089 10.382, 11.796]
ALS2 0.92 [ 0.897, 0.943] 10.027 9.375, 10.68 ]
TOS2 0.924 [ 0.9 , 0.947] 9.273 8.625, 9.921]
FHS4 0.823 [ 0.793, 0.853] 5.497 5.302, 5. 692]
PES4 0.831 [ 0.802, 0.861] 6.115 5.934, 6.296]
PAL2 0.91 [ 0.885, 0.934] 2.507 2.426, 2.588]
PAL1 0.895 [ 0.869, 0.921] 2.554 2.469, 2.639]
LAVA 0.849 [ 0.819, 0.879] 4.661 4.469, 4.854]
CTRL 0.251 [ 0.234, 0.267] 5.942 5.772, 6.112]

F i g u r e 5. S i m u l a t i o n r e s u l t s o b t a i n e d u s i n g F L E X S I M w i t h 90% c o n f i d e n c e i n t e r v a l s
160 E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / F L E X S I M . " A flexible manufacturing system simulator

types can be visualized using the appropriate sys- the more recent (or more powerful) computer
tem call when starting FLEXSIM; an example of workstations can reduce this time by a factor of
the results of such a call (obtained from a FLEX- two or more.
SIM printout) are in Appendices 1 and 2. A F L E X S I M simulation report consists of three
Simulation results
The version of F L E X S I M which we have used
Report 1. It concerns the three fundamental
to illustrate these results is installed on an Apollo
p a r a m e t e r s which are the t h r o u g h p u t the
computer workstation operating under the Unix
turnaround time and the blocking rate. They are
Bsd. 4.3 operating system. On this machine, the
expressed in parts per minute.
computer run time for the example given in Figure
1 is very close to 15 minutes for a simulated time
of five and one half months of FMS time, assum- Report 2. It gives the number of pallets used
ing that the FMS system is running 24 hours per during the simulation and their distribution. The
day. Although this simulation run is relatively mean number of parts in the system and the
long, since 15 minutes may be a very long time for distribution of parts among finished, discarded
the user to wait for a report, we can expect that and blocked parts is also given.

Sl.ation : SUr Station : St

I.O PESff 1.0 FRSt
¢I] .75
jl. Q;
¢0 .75 /
n," c¢

t- t-
o O
•~ . r~O
"~ .50 ,.a
tl] tO
Ul t~
.r.-~ . r,i

'"~ .25
-,t .25

0.0 O.O
.40 1o I;2 116 2.o .40 .~o i;2 i;6 2.0

Arrival Ra~.e Arrival Rate

Station : $2 FHS~ Stat ion : SP

1.0 L~ _ _ ~..~ ~ ,~- "~--''-- ALS2 i .0 PAL2
TOS2 -- --=- --~- "~'~ ~ "- "-- ~ PALl
P .75
tY n,

t- C
O 0
.rl "~ .58
•5 0

O'l bl

..4 .25
•2 5

1.'2 0 .O
.8o 1;6 2.0 .4o .~o ,;2 2.0
• 40
Arriua[ Rate ArFival Rate

F i g u r e 6. U t i l i s a t i o n r a t e f o r t h e m a c h i n e - t o o l s i n e a c h s t a t i o n
E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator 161

Report 3. It contains statistical data concerning The curves plotted by F L E X S I M can be very
the queues in the system being simulated, such as: useful at this stage. Two examples of curves are
• The mean length of queues upstream and shown in Figures 6 and 7 concerning the utiliza-
downstream of workstations. tion rates of the machine-tools of the station S1
• The blocking rate discussed above. and the performance measures of the system.
• The utilization or occupancy rate for each
4. Conclusions
In Figure 5 we present these three reports, as
they are produced in the result file, for the FMS We have constructed a novel FMS simulation
system described above, and shown in Figure 1. tool called F L E X S I M which is both a computer
In this configuration, for example, the machine aided design and a performance evaluation tool.
utilization rates are high and so is the blocking The simulator stores in a relational database de-
rate; this implies that the system load is very high. tailed information concerning the capacities of the
Other simulation runs have to be carried out, with stations, the number of machine-tools at each
other input rates, to compare various parameters. workstation, the phases and alternate phases, setup

Par~s in She system





15.0 | i i

,40 .80 1.2 1,6 2.0

Art iva] Rate

Turnaround Time
•50 80.0

• 38 72.5

\ .25 65.0
bl hroughput c
U ~Blocking E
n .13 I 57.5
~__~__ ~ / N a s t acje

0.0 J" 50,0

• 40 •0 1.2
' 1.'6 2.0 .40 .80
' .1 2 1.6
' 2.0

Arrival Rate ArrJua] Rate

F i g u r e 7. P e r f o r m a n c e m e a s u r e s o f the s y s t e m
162 E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / F L E X S I M : A flexible manufacturing system simulator

times, transport system characteristics, processing ules: a database system and a simulator. The
times, etc. database system itself is a 'simulator' of a FMS
Thus FLEXSIM uses a database management manufacturing database since it mimics closely the
system which allows the user to construct a simu- manner in which information would be repre-
lation model in a manner very similar if not sented there. Thus the user specifies the FMS he
identical to the one in which he would construct wishes to simulate, much as he would specify a
the manufacturing database. The user is relieved real FMS within the framework of its information
of any modeling work and can concentrate on the system. Once the specification is complete, the
description of the system and then on the analysis simulator will interact directly with the database
of the simulation results. Furthermore the user without intervention from the user. At the end of
does not actually write any portions of the simula- the simulation run, F L E X S I M provides a set of
tor. Before a simulation run actually takes place, reports usable by the FMS designer and evaluator.
F L E X S I M will verify the user's description for This original approach to FMS design, which
consistency and completeness and the relational forces a more effective interaction between FMS
database will automatically refuse incomplete and specification and description on the one hand, and
inconsistent data. F L E X S I M will also provide the FMS performance evaluation on the other, should
user with a summary description of the FMS bring simulation and evaluation activities much
system being studied as indicated in the computer closer to FMS design and management functions
printouts shown in Appendices 1 and 2. than is usually obtained.
FLEXSIM is based on two main software mod-

Appendix 1: Configuration of the FMS

The list of stations, their capacities and the machines which belong to each one are given.

I/ SP : --> I n p u t B u f f e r C a p a c i t y : 5
--> O u t p u t B u f f e r C a p a c i t y : 5
--> 2 M a c h l n e ( s ) : PAL1, PAL2

2/ Sl : --> I n p u t Buffer Capacity : 2

--> Output Buffer Capacity : 2
--> 2 Machine(s) : TUSI, FRSI

3/ S2 : --> Input B u f f e r C a p a c i t y : 3
--> Output Buffer Capacity : 4
--> 3 Machine(s) : FHS2, TOS2, A L S 2

4/ SC : --> I n p u t B u f f e r C a p a c i t y : 5
--> O u t p u t B u f f e r C a p a c i t y : 5
--> 1 M a c h i n e ( s ) : CTRL

5/ S4 : --> Input Buffer Capacity : 2

--> Output Buffer Capacity : 2
--> 2 Machlne(s) : FHS4, PES4

6/ S L : --> Input B u f f e r C a p a c i t y : 2
--> Output Buffer Capacity : 2
--> 1 Machlne(s) : LAVA

Appendix 2: Detailed sequences of phases for part types

To illustrate the routing sequences for each part type, we list all the stations that a part may use. The
alternative stations are marked with the symbol '. The phase time (i.e. the sum of execution times for each
operation in a phase) is expressed in hundredths minutes (i.e. 1 stands for 0.01 minutes). Basic operations
with their characteristics as described in Section 2.1, are also given.
E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator 163


1 / SP -->During 50 hundredth of minutes, Priority : 0, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [OPAL1]
...Required Tool # : SPECIAL1
...Palettising Program Identification : PALET_I
...Palettising Time : 50

2 / S2 -->During 62 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OPIS2]
...Required Tool : 391.05-16-50-030
...Machining Program Identification : TOURNERI
...Machining Time : 62

2'/ S4 -->During 70 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OP3S4]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-40-50-025
...Machining Program Identification : TOURNER2
...Machining Time : 70

3 / Sl -->During 104 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OPISI]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-23-50-030
...Machining Program Identification : PERCER 2
...Machining Time : 104
3'/ S2 -->During 130 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05
-Operation [OP33S2]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-70-80-030
...Machining Program Identification : ALESER 1
...Machining Time : 43
-Operation [OPI2PS2]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-22-63-040
...Machining Program Identification : PERCER 1
...Machining Time : 87

$4 -->During 60 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OPIS4]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-23-50-020
...Machining Program Identification : TARAUDER
...Machining Time : 60

SC -->During 28 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [OPISC]
...Required Tool # : 491.05-40-50-030
...Inspection Program Identification : CONTROL1
...Inspection Time : 28

SP -->During 25 hundredth of minutes, Priority : 2, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [DEPALI]
...Required Tool # : SPECIAL1
...Palettising Program Identification: DEPALETI
...Palettising Time : 25

-Number of P1 parts to be manufactured : 50000

-Inspection rate of P1 parts : 0.I


SP -->During 20 hundredth of minutes, Priority : 0, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [OPAL3]
...Required Tool # : SPECIAL3
...Palettising Program Identification: PALET 3
...Palettising Time : 20
S1 -->During 64 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.05
-Operation [OP2SI]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-27-63-030
...Machining Program Identification : FRAISERI
...Machining Time : 64

2'/ S2 -->During 71 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OP2S2]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-32-63-030
...Machining Program Identification : FRAISER2
...Machining Time : 71

3 / SC -->During 25 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [OP2SC]
...Required Tool # : 491.05-40-63-030
...Inspection Program Identification : CONTROL1
...Inspection Time : 25

4 / SP -->During 60 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [DEPAL3]
...Required Tool # : SPECIAL3
164 E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / F L E X S I M : A flexible manufacturing system simulator

...Palettislng Program Identification: DEPALET3

.,.Palettlslng Time : 15
-Operation [OPAL4]
.,.Required Tool # : SPECIAL4
.,.Palettlslng Program Identification: PALET 4
...Palettislng Time : 45

5 / 52 -->During 71 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operatlcn [OP2$2]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-32-63-030
...Machining Program Identification : FRAISER2
...Machining Time : 71
5'/ $4 -->During 83 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05
-Operation [OP2PS4]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-32-80-030
...Machining Program Identification : FP~AISER4
...Machining Time : 83

6 SL -->During 32 hundredth of minutes, Priority : i, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OP25L]
...Required Tool ! : 800.05-22-80-030
...Washing Program Identification : LAVER 2
...Washing Time : 32

3 SP -->During 20 hundredth of minutes, Priority : 2, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [DEPAL4]
...Required Tool # : SPECIAL4
...Palettlslng Program Identification: DEPALET4
...Palettislng Time : 20

-Number of P2 parts to be manufactured : 50000

-Inspection rate of P2 parts : 0.1

1 SP -->During 34 hundredth of minutes, Priority : 0, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [oPAL21
...Required Tool # : SPECIAL2
...Palettlsing Program Identification: PALET_2
...Palettlslng Time : 34

2 / S2 -->During 194 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OPISI]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-23-50-030
...Machining Program Identification : PERCER_2
...Machining Time : 104
-Operation [OP32S21
...Required Tool # : 391.05-60-80-030
...Machining Program Identification : ALESER_2
...Machining Time : 47
-Operation [OP33S2]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-70-80-030
...Machining Program Identification : ALESER i
...Machining Time : 43

2'/ sl -->During 161 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OP31PSI]
...Required Tool i : 391.05-32-50-025
.,.Machinlhg Program Identification : PERCER_6
.,.Machining Time : 82
-Operation [OP32PSI]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-32-63-025
...Machining Program Identification : ALESER_3
...Machining Time : 79

3 / S4 -->During 70 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OP3S4]
...Required Tool # : 391.05-40-50-025
...Machining program Identification : TOURNER2
...Machining Time : 70
4 / SC -->During 27 hundredth of minutes, Priority : I, Waste rate : 0o
-Operation [OF3SC]
...Required Tool # : 491.05-70-63-030
...Inspection Program Identification : CONTROL3
...Inspection Time : 27

5 / SL -->During 30 hundredth of minutes, PFiorlty : i, Waste rate : 0.05

-Operation [OP3SL~
...Required Tool | : 800.05-70-50-025
...Washing Program Identification : L A V E R 3
...Washing Time : 30

6 / SP -->During 18 hundredth of minutes, P~iority : 2, Waste rate : 0.

-Operation [DEPAL2]
...Required Tool # : SPECIAL2
...Palettlslng Program Identification: DEPALET2
...Palettlsing Time : 18
-Number of P3 parts to be manufactured : 50000
-Inspection rate of P3 parts : 0.i
E. Gelenbe, H. Guennouni / FLEXSIM: A flexible manufacturing system simulator 165

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