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A bigger slice of the pie

08 July 2010

CenFRA has saved thousands of pounds for Britain's favourite pork pie manufacturer by carrying out in-depth analysis on a planned expansion project using bespoke discrete event simulation

Following aggressive business growth, the Vale of Mowbray identified that it would need new equipment and a site extension to keep up with demand but was unsure how these changes would be integrated with existing production.

The Vale of Mowbray approached CenFRA to carry out an assessment of its current factory processes and look into its proposed plans to ascertain if the Yorkshire company was making the most out of its investment.

CenFRA created an interactive 3D computer model of the proposed factory layout, which included technical details on the existing production equipment to evaluate and quantify, at very little cost, the benefits and implications of integrating new equipment on a 'virtual scale' without creating any disruption to current manufacturing operations or the need for complex spread sheets and speculative guesswork.

From the numerous 'what if' scenarios carried out, which included level of throughput, number of operators required and machine capabilities, CenFRA's team was able to determine that the intended plan would only be capable of handling a year's increase in production and advised that an alternative approach should be adopted.

With this in mind, the Vale of Mowbray presented new plans for CenFRA to evaluate, and using the same event simulation methods as well as additional analysis which included set-up, maintenance and break times, CenFRA was able to confirm that the revised plan would indeed be capable of handling a substantial increase in capacity for the foreseeable future.

CenFRA's skilled knowledge and expertise of the food and drink industry coupled with its discrete event simulation technology offered the Vale of Mowbray an alternative course of action which resulted in a faster financial payback by preventing investment in unsuitable equipment.

Discrete event computer simulation produces virtual replicas of factory floor space and allows food and drink manufacturers to examine how the proposed integration of automation systems will work in reality. This innovative capability is an invaluable addition to the food and drink industry as it is able to guarantee that the desired impact of any proposed installation can be achieved without physically disrupting current manufacture or any other areas of production.

Funded principally by Yorkshire Forward CenFRA is committed to improving the competitiveness, profitability and sustainability of the UK food and drink industry by introducing companies to robotics and automation through technology audits, identifying opportunities and providing practical independent advice on equipment and its suitability.

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