Proceedings of the 1997 Winter Simulation Conference ed. S. Andradóttir, K. J. Healy, D. H. Withers, and B. L. Nelson
SIMULATION MODELING AND OPTIMIZATION USING PROMODEL Deborah Benson PROMODEL Corporation 1875 South State St., Suite 3400 Orem, UT 84097, USA
ABSTRACT The ProModel Optimization Suite is a powerful yet easyto-use simulation tool for modeling all types of manufacturing systemsranging from small job shops and machining cells to large mass production, flexible manufacturing systems, and supply chain systems. ProModel is a Windows based system with an intuitive graphical interface and object-oriented modeling constructs that eliminate the need for programming. It combines the flexibility of a general purpose simulation language with the convenience of a data-drivensimulator. In addition, ProModel utilizes an optimization tool called SimRunner that performs sophisticated “what-if” analysis by running automatic factorial design of experiments on the model, providing the best answer possible. This tutorial provides an overview of the ProModel Optimization Suite and presents its modeling, analysis, and optimization capabilities. 1 OVERVIEW OF PROMODEL ProModel is asimulation and animation tool designed to quickly yet accurately model manufacturing systems of all types, particularly supply chain systems. Engineers and managers find the manufacturing oriented modeling elements and rule-based decision logic extremely easy to learn and use. Users are particularly delighted when they discover that ProModel is capable of modeling their most complex systems.Because it provides such an intuitive and straightforward approach to modeling, it is also attractive to professors in engineering and business programs who are interested in teaching modeling and analysis concepts without having to teach computer programming. While most systems can be modeled by selecting from ProModel's complete set of modeling elements (e.g. resources, downtimes, etc.) and modifyingthe appropriate parameters, complete programming capability is also provided if needed for modeling special situations. Built-in language features include if-then-else logic, Boolean expressions, variables, attributes, arrays and even access to external spreadsheet and text files.
For those who prefer coding complex logic using a programming language such as C, Pascal or Basic, externalsubroutines may be dynamically linked to the model and called from anywhere inside the model at runtime. In this way, ProModel allows systems analysts and simulation experts to use the tools they are most comfortable with to provide total flexibility. ProModel also provides several built-in distribution functions which, in conjunction with streams, return random values according to a statisticaldistribution. To aid the user in selecting an appropriate distribution for a data set, Stat::Fit is included with ProModel. Stat::Fit is a curve fitting software that fits analytical distributions to user data. Model development is completely graphical and object-oriented. To the extent possible, all input is provided graphically with information being grouped by object type and presented in a"spreadsheet-like" format for quick and intuitive access. For example, when you define a machine you can define its icon, capacity, downtime characteristics, input and output rules, desired output statistics, etc. ProModel complies with GUI standards, which means that individuals familiar with other standard Windows programs such as word processing or spreadsheets will have no trouble learning how to useProModel. This data input approach minimizes the learning curve for beginners and maximizes the efficiency for modifying large and complex models. A unique feature in ProModel is the ability to bring up a pop-up menu depending on the current context that prompts the user in defining any statement or expression. This enables any expression or statement to be entered using only the mouse. It also...
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