Thesis for the Degree of Master of Science


Year 2006
Sami Heinsalmi

Development of a Statistical Simulation Tool for Production Planning at an Electronics Manufacturing Plant

Flexible production is one of the key requirements for success in a customer-driven market. Simulation and production planning, both separately and combined, allow for testing and evaluation of different scenarios without disturbing ongoing production. They can also be utilized effectively to increase flexibility without any need for additional investment.

The goal of this thesis was to create an easily deployable, consistent tool for production planning and scheduling which would take into account the production environment and existing tools used at Elcoteq SE. The purpose of this tool was to enable more efficient equipment utilization; hence the use of simulation should be extended to cover all Elcoteq plants.

The literature review discusses discrete-event simulation, especially its application in manufacturing simulation. Different application areas are outlined and several simulation software packages are described.

The experimental part of the thesis is divided into three parts. The first part consists of the evaluation and selection of the base simulation software package. The second part comprises two sets of simulation experiments conducted on two separate production lines. The third part concentrates on the creation of the actual production-planning tool.

The production line simulation experiments concentrated on solving two problems: the problem of partly defective panels and the challenge of increasing the product count on a panel. In dealing with partly defective panels, the correct scheduling of different product lots was found to affect production output significantly. The second case, increasing the product count on a panel, was also simulated. Increasing the panel size was found to be beneficial, but as the product was already in production, panel modification proved impossible.

The production-planning tool was developed utilizing the data gathered during the line simulations. To ensure rapid deployment and acceptance of the new planning tool, simplicity and ease of use were key design parameters.

The production planner tool has been in use at three plants and the preliminary results are promising. Based on the initial response, the tool is easy to use. Storing production related data in a central repository also serves to decrease dependency on key personnel in production planning. Further development of the planner has been initiated.

This info last modified 24 Sep 2017 by Jerri Kämpe-Hellenius