The research project “KS-Sim” pursues the goal to give producers of calcium silicate masonry units (CS) a supportive tool at hand to secure production decisions soundly regarding the use of resources and means of production. Using an IT solution to depict the sequence of the separate sub-processes of production from raw material procurement to the storage area in a material flow simulation combined with an attached optimization component, existing processes can be analyzed and optimized, and appropriate adjustments outside of ongoing business operations can be tested.
Based on an exploration of necessary data and machine parameters, an appropriate model for use in daily business operations was developed, which is characterized by short lead times and sufficiently detailed evaluations. From this basis, a modular model was derived, in order to swiftly map any factory configuration without major adaptation efforts. Derived from results of various case studies, optimization algorithms complement the simulation model to automatically calculate enhancement potential for critical sections of existing processes.
The application of the system described above yields for CS plants that the present complex production processes are much more manageable. Against the background of increasing skills shortages in this sector, decisions, which are currently largely based on individual expert knowledge, can be replaced with sound calculations by the IT solution. Thus, the preservation of the existing planning quality is ensured, which gains additional quality through sophisticated optimization algorithms and the possibility of testing numerous scenarios.
Because of its generic structure, the stated methodology is very suitable for a transfer to other primary forming manufacturing processes in the process industry. In particular, the energy-intensive batch process during autoclaving could be efficiently and yet precisely incorporated into the model, so that automatically opportunities for optimization are generated and possible savings are shown.