Haskell’s Systems Analytics Division is a team of industrial engineers passionate about using data-driven methods, such as simulation and emulation, to drive operational excellence in manufacturing settings.
Haskell’s Systems Analytics Division is a team of industrial engineers passionate about using data-driven methods, such as simulation and emulation, to drive operational excellence in manufacturing settings.

July 9, 2024

Understand Simulation and Emulation and the Problems They Solve

Explore how Haskell’s System Analytics team uses simulation and emulation to solve complex project challenges, optimize designs and drive efficiency.

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Haskell’s System Analytics team applies data-driven techniques to enhance project outcomes at any stage of the lifecycle. The most visible examples are the showcase simulation and emulation models the team produces.

This article delves deeper into what simulations and emulations are, what makes them useful and how clients can engage Haskell to support their simulation and emulation projects.

Simulation

A simulation is an abstract, digital representation of a current or proposed system where many actions and processes are represented within the confines of a single model. It can be as detailed as tracking the cap from a bottle all the way from receiving to shipping or as simple as modeling the flow through a line. The complexity of the model is closely related to the current project phase and the question to be solved. Some benefits include:

  • Optimizing the implications of design and operations decisions and their effect on system performance
  • Visualizing systems, such as packaging, process, people, robots and vehicles (driven and autonomous)
  • Refining design decisions such as conveyor layout and device placement
  • Investigating and confirming system behavior with various product mixes or operational scenarios
  • Quickly generating large amounts of data for rapid scenario analysis and experimentation without costly interventions or downtime on the actual system

 

Crafting the right approach to simulation involves understanding the questions simulations can answer.

  • “How much buffer should we include, and where, in order to achieve the best throughput for the value of our investment?”
  • “Do these room adjacencies help the flow of people, material and equipment through my facility?”
  • “How should I schedule my production?”
  • “How many receiving bays do I need to supply my process system with adequate raw ingredients?”

 

Among past use cases, the System Analytics team has applied simulations to help a beverage company unlock 25% more capacity, avoiding more than $5 million in unnecessary expenditures, help a consumer and packaged goods company save over $2 million annually in labor, and right-size the amount of accumulation on a line to increase expected throughput by almost 10%.

Emulation

Where the art of simulation is in choosing the right level of abstraction to answer design and operations questions, the goal of emulation is to create an exact replica of the real system, if possible. Emulations focus on testing automation and controls systems and need all the details relevant for that I/O. The Haskell Automation team can plug its programmable logic controller (PLC) directly into an emulation model and test how code will function before equipment is installed onsite. The benefits for emulation include:

  • Debugging line controls in a virtual environment
  • Testing HMI and other interfaces
  • Reducing scrap and decreasing ramp-up time for startup
  • Cutting costs by reducing troubleshooting time onsite
  • Testing multiple product formats without the need for operators or materials
  • Debugging important, rare edge cases
  • Identifying and iterating on safety zone behaviors and responses
  • Decreasing wear and tear on machine centers

 

The System Analytics and Automation teams collaborated to build a robust testing plan known as emulation factory assessment testing (FAT) for the PLC code that allows the emulation to function exactly as the line would. This also allows the team to optimize code, finding the most efficient startup and operating sequences for the line.

One of the many successes of this method was helping a pasta sauce manufacturer save $4.2 million by improving line functionality, which eliminated the need for two additional costly retort systems.

Haskell has a variety of tools that can be applied for simulation and emulation. We find that these tools provide a lot of value for the right project by enhancing the robust, data-driven approach that informs all of Haskell’s design decisions.

Haskell's subject matter experts consistently maintain a holistic and innovative approach to problem-solving, which means they regularly participate in solutions-focused discussions across disciplines and industries. Contact our team to leverage that thought leadership on your next project.

 

Zary PeretzAbout the author: Zary Paretz is a creative problem solver who works in Haskell’s System Analytics group as a Project Engineer II. Prior to joining Haskell in 2017, Zary graduated from Georgia Tech with a double major in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Business Administration. She has also earned her Lean and Six Sigma Green Belts. She uses her education and experiences to provide a well-rounded, innovative, and data-driven approach to solving the manufacturing and systems problems that face Haskell's customers.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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