SIMUL8 Feature List - Simulation Objects

Every SIMUL8 simulation is created by dragging and dropping the simulation objects below onto the screen. Detail can then be added to each of these objects to build a simulation which represents your process. SIMUL8 uses a limited number of objects to make as easy as possible to use and learn.

In SIMUL8 2012 the objects were renamed:

  • Work Entry Point is now Start Point
  • Storage Bin is now Queue
  • Work Center is now Activity
  • Work Exit Point is now End

If a feature is only available with SIMUL8 Professional, this icon is shown:


Start Point

A Start Point is a work generator object. It is the place where work to be done first appears in your simulation.

You can have as many Start Points as you like. Each can feed work in using different statistical distributions and different Work Item Types if required.

Timing
This lets you say how often work will arrive. A variable or label can be entered into the 'average' field.
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First at Start Time
A work item will arrive at time zero.

Unlimited arrivals
Work won't arrive as specified by a distribution but whenever they are required by the connecting object.

None
No arrivals will occur. This feature is used to make it easier to incorporate sub processes.

File
Set the times you want Work Items to be generated at from a CSV file. Ends can also write the exit times of Work Items to a CSV file. So if you combine these two features together you can run one simulation to generate the inputs for another.

Finance
Add costs for the Start Point to create a profit and loss account.
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Help
Detailed Help on each Start Point feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Start Point to be displayed on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the Start Point in numeric and graphical format.
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Batching
Control the number of items which arrive at one time. If an "arrival" occurs at time 10:30 and the number of items set to leave the Start Point is 20, then 20 items of the specified work item type will arrive at 10:30. The number of items in a batch can be determined by a distribution.
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Routing Out
Control how work leaves the Start Point.
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Label Actions
Set the work item's label values as they enter the simulation.
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Graphics
Change the Start Point's image.
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Queue

A Queue is a place where work to be done can wait until appropriate resources or Activities are available.

Capacity
Limit the capacity of the Queue.

Shelf Life
Specify a time work items should not stay longer than in the Queue. For example calls waiting to be answered. When the queue grows longer they expire and can be collected by an Activity. This value can be a fixed number, variable or label.
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Min Wait Time
Force work to stay in the Queue for a specified amount of time. This value can be a fixed number, variable or label.

Prioritize
Work can be prioritized in a Queue based on a label value. The higher the value the closer to the front of the queue the work will be.

LIFO
Normally work items join the back of a queue and don't leave until they reach the front, FIFO (first in first out). With LIFO (last in first out) checked work that enters the Queue goes to the front of the queue.

High Volume
Switching the Queue to this mode lets SIMUL8 process large numbers of work items very quickly in batches while still retaining the ability to consider work individually (in terms of timing etc.). This is particularly useful for BPM and FMCG type applications.

Segregate Results
Some of the results information for Queues can be segregated by label to let you see, for example, how long different types of work spend in the queue.
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Finance
Add costs for the Queue to create a profit and loss account.
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Help
Detailed Help on each Queue feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Queue to be displayed on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the Queue in numeric and graphical format.
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Start-Up
Sometimes you may not want your model to start its run completely empty of work items. You can place work into Queues automatically at the start of a run.
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Contents
View the work items currently held by the Queue.
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Graphics
Change the Queues image or make it animated.
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Activity

an Activity is where work takes place on Work Items.

Timing
This lets you say how long a process will take at the Activity. A variable or label can be entered into the 'average' field.
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High Volume
Switching the Activity to this mode lets SIMUL8 process large numbers of work items very quickly in batches while still retaining the ability to consider work individually (in terms of timing etc.). This is particularly useful for BPM and FMCG type applications.

Finance
Add costs for the Activity to create a profit and loss account.
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Help
Detailed Help on each Activity feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Activity to be displayed on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the Activity in numeric and graphical format.
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Resources
Require a resource before work can be completed by an Activity.
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Efficiency
If the Activity does not work continuously because of breakdowns or other inefficiencies these can be specified using SIMUL8's efficiency options.

Routing In
Control how work is selected by the Activity
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Routing Out
Control how work leaves the Activity.
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Label Actions
Tell an Activity how to change a work item's labels as they come through the Activity.
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Priority
If two or more Activities are ready to start work but can't because a shared resource is unavailable they have to compete to get a resource. When a unit of resource becomes available the Activity with the highest priority gets it.

Replicate
Replicate the Activity so you can quickly try alternative numbers of Activities which perform the same tasks.

Contents
View the work items currently held by the Activity.
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Graphics
Change the Activity image on each state: working, waiting, change over, broken down, blocked.
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Shifts
Specify a schedule of availability for the Activity.
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Conveyors

Conveyors are objects which simulate real life conveyors.

Length
The number of work items that can be on a conveyor at any one time is determined by the length of the conveyor and the size of the work item.

Speed
The speed of a conveyor, combined with its length affects how long it takes a work item to travel from the start to the end of a conveyor (assuming no other work items block its progress).

Pick Area
Line side Activities are available. The Conveyor Pick Up and Drop details allow you to specify the location of the Activity relative to the Conveyor.

Accumulating
Conveyors can be either "Accumulating", where all work continues to move until it has accumulated behind the front item or "Fixed" where items stop moving as soon as work reaches the front of the conveyor.

Allow Gaps
When ticked Allow Gaps lets the conveyor run when there are no items waiting to be loaded. When unticked the Allow Gaps commands the conveyor to wait whenever a gap will appear on the conveyor if an item is not ready to be immediately loaded.

Help
Detailed Help on each Conveyor feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Conveyor to be displayed on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the Conveyor in numeric and graphical format.
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Routing Out
Control how work leaves the Conveyor.
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Label Actions
Tell a Conveyor how to change a work item's labels as they pass along the Conveyor.
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Contents
View the work items currently on the Conveyor.
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Graphics
Conveyors can be displayed as animated showing the location of each work item on the conveyor.
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End

an End is a place where work that is complete leaves your simulation.

Finance
Add costs for the End to create a profit and loss account.
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Halt Model at Limit
Using 'Halt Model at Limit' the simulation can be stopped when a specified number of work items have been completed.

Segregate Results
Some of the results information for End can be segregated by label to let you see, for example, how long different types of work spend in the queue.
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High Volume
Switching the End to this mode lets SIMUL8 process large numbers of work items very quickly in batches while still retaining the ability to consider work individually (in terms of timing etc.). This is particularly useful for BPM and FMCG type applications.

Help
Detailed Help on each End feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the End to be displayed on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the End in numeric and graphical format.
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Graphics
Change the image of an End.
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Work Items

A Work Item is the work which is done in the organization being simulated. Examples are:

  • Patients in a hospital
  • Invoices in an Accounts department
  • Products in a factory

Individual work items flow through the objects in the simulation.

Labels can be attached to help differentiate between different work items or whole new work item types can be created.

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Agent Based Simulation Visual Logic attached to work items

Work Items have become intelligent entities.

Visual Logic can be attached to them so they can control their own behavior and drive their interactions
with the rest of your simulation rather than wait for objects to interact with them.

This means it's now possible to use SIMUL8 to conduct agent based simulation and in the most practical
and applicable way, combined with discrete event simulation.


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Routing Arrows

Objects are connected by drawing routing arrows between them. Routing arrows show all the possible routes a work item could take. Rules can be attached to these arrows to control the way work flows. More on Routing Arrows.

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Resource

Resources are items in the simulation that are required at Activities in order for the Activity to work on a work item. An example of a resource could be your staff.

Shift Dependent
Resources can be available for only part of the time a simulation model is running if you make use of shift patterns to describe their availability.
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Pool Resource
Resources can be pooled to create a group of resources so, for example Fitters can fit and Operators can operate but either Operators or Fitters can polish.

Finance
Add costs for the Resource to create a profit and loss account.
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Help
Detailed Help on each Resource feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Resource to be displayed on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the Resource in numeric and graphical format.
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Travel
Resources are mobile, that is they can travel with work items to other simulation objects.

Graphics
Change the image of the Resource.
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Find
While your simulation is running get a list of all the simulation objects where the Resource is currently being used.

Availability
This input allows you to state that a Resource will only be available for x% of time. SIMUL8 then randomly makes it unavailable. Alternatively you can give SIMUL8 detailed information about how often interruptions occur and how long they last for.

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Tanks

Tanks are special simulation objects that help simulate very high volume processes like food lines and are also ideal for Continuous (System Dynamics) simulation. Pipes and Process are also useful for this type of simulation.

Tanks handle liquids (or other materials that are best measured in volume rather than discrete units).

Capacity
Tanks can contain any positive quantity (Zero Capacity is also available in SIMUL8 Professional). The capacity sets a maximum limit.

Start Up Level
Sometimes you might not want your tanks to start empty. This parameter allows you to specify a quantity present at the beginning of each run.

Auto Adjust Inflow Rates
Tanks can automatically adjust their inflow pipes to maintain a constant level. Use these with Constrained Pipes to turn Tanks into control nodes.

Help
Detailed Help on each Pipe feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Pipe which can be displayed whenever the mouse is hovered over the Pipe on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the Tank in numeric and graphical format.
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Graphics
Change the static image and animation properties of the Pipe.
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Visual Logic
Visual Logic, SIMUL8's internal programming language, can be triggered when the tank reaches various states.
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Pipes

Pipes are special simulation objects that help simulate very high volume processes like food lines and are also ideal for Continuous (System Dynamics) simulation. Tanks and Process are also useful for this type of simulation.

Pipes handle the flow between Tanks.

Flow Rate
The rate at which materials flow from the source tank.

Delay
The time before the flow of materials reaches the destination tank.

Output %
This is a useful way of changing the material in some way between the 2 tanks. Sometimes this represents a physical loss or gain, sometimes it is a process conversion (like packing lbs of cookies into pallets).

Help
Detailed Help on each Pipe feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Pipe which can be displayed whenever the mouse is hovered over the Pipe on screen.
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Graphics
Change the width and color of the Pipe.
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Constrained Rate
When used with Zero Capacity Tanks Pipes now have an additional property "constrained rate" which is the current actual rate leaving the pipe and makes the choking of a pipe very fast and efficient. If a pipe is reduced in flow rate the effect of this change is passed back along any connected pipes. Intervening tanks that are Auto Adjust Inflow Rates tanks will automatically constrain the pipes that feed them, passing the effect of a reduction in capacity back.

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Process

The Process object is only available with SIMUL8 Professional.

Process is a special simulation object that helps simulate very high volume processes like food lines and is also ideal for Continuous (System Dynamics) simulation. Tanks and Pipes are also useful for this type of simulation.

Process is a special Activity combined with a conveyor to simulate long ovens (or similar equipment) that continuously batch or process large volumes of material. For example in the food industry ingredients being converted into millions of cookies.

Material enters at the start of the object and after some specified delay leaves at the end (or exit). If we start to feed a process at 5kg/min and the process is 20m long and runs at 10m/min, then material will start to emerge from the exit in 2 minutes time at a rate of 5kg/min.

Rate
Speed at which the Process object is fed with material.

Help
Detailed Help on each Process feature.
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Memo
Add notes about the Pipe which can be displayed whenever the mouse is hovered over the Pipe on screen.
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Results
Collect various results about the Process in numeric and graphical format.
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Efficiency
If the Process does not work continuously because of breakdowns or other inefficiencies these can be specified using SIMUL8's efficiency options.

Graphics
Change the static image and animation properties of the Process.
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Duration
The time that elapses between the material entering and leaving the process object.

Length
The length of the process object.

Speed
The speed of the process, combined with its length affects how long it takes a work item to travel from the start to the end of a conveyor element of the process.

Density
Combined with the speed and rate properties this determines how densely packed the process is e.g. lbs/feet.

Output %
This represents a physical loss or gain, or sometimes it is a process conversion (like packing lbs of cookies into pallets).

Feed and Exit Quantity
When the Process interfaces to another object these are the smallest quantities that SIMUL8 will consider transferring between objects.

Start and End Capacity
When the Process interfaces to another object these are the buffers that SIMUL8 will introduce so that the process will not be falsely stopped because the other object can only handle discrete objects.

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Transport Objects

Transport Objects are only available with SIMUL8 Professional. They are designed to allow users to simulate material handling scenarios.

Paths, Path Networks, Loaders, Vehicles Classes and Vehicles are the main additional features. Path networks each consists of a network of paths on which vehicles can travel to collect and deliver work items between loaders.

Paths
These can be width-constrained so that vehicles cannot pass or, optionally, can only pass in certain directions, with preset delays.

Path Networks

Each consists of a network of paths that vehicles can travel to collect and deliver work items between loaders. 

Loaders

Loaders move work from/to other SIMUL8 objects (like Activities, conveyors, Queues etc.) into and out of path networks. Loaders work at a defined speed and can be constrained to load work only when certain conditions apply.

Vehicles and Vehicle Classes

Vehicles can travel empty or loaded with one or more work items. Vehicles can use SIMUL8 Resources and so be constrained by resource availability. Vehicles automatically find their way between loaders using the available paths (but routes can be preset if required).  Vehicles automatically locate the right loader to move work to (making use of SIMUL8 labels on work and the SIMUL8 jobs matrix).

Vehicle classes contain one or more vehicles that can each be at any position on any path in any path network.  Vehicles Classes define the capacity, length, width, speed capabilities etc. of all the vehicles in the class.

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Components

Components let you create your own simulation objects and add them to SIMUL8’s standard objects.

Components consist of one or more existing objects that are tailored in some way then saved as a single new object for future use.

They can be left open, so you or other users can re-tailor them, or they can be sealed up and password protected so their internal information is safe from adjustment.

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Groups

A group is a collection of simulation objects.

Groups can be can be used to limit the number of work items which can be in one area of your operation or to quickly create many copies of one of your objects. They can also be used to get collective results for objects.

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Unlimited Objects

There is no limit to the number of objects which can be used in one simulation.

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BPMN Objects

Draw BPMN diagrams directly into SIMUL8 by dragging and dropping BPMN icons onto screen - just the same way you can with a simulation. Icons include:

  • Start
  • Activity
  • Gateway
  • Intermediate
  • Sub-Process
  • End

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Swim Lanes

SIMUl8 combines Swim Lanes with object groups to create visual impact, and increase functionality. Parallel lines divide the simulation into lanes, with one lane for each person, group or subprocess.

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Value Stream Mapping

SIMUL8 has all the objects necessary to quickly and easily draw Value Stream Maps. You can add the functionality of simulation to their familiar layout for an end-to-end Lean solution.

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