Nowadays, there are numerous tools available for material flow simulation in production environments. They constitute the cornerstone of the digital factory, and have thus been globally adopted over the years. The story, of course, was quite different back in the 1980s. At the time, production processes were largely planned without simulation support. Not surprisingly, this resulted in high changeover costs and extra investment. Simulation studies were complex and expensive, and were the domain of a few specialists.
In this context, inpro’s target was to introduce the material flow simulation in the planning departments of partner companies. The planner was to be provided with a user-friendly system to be able to rate and optimise production processes. To that end, simulation systems, prefabricated block libraries and extensive standard strategies were developed to guarantee high productivity in the implementation of simulation studies. To extend the application scope, an integrated development environment was provided to design custom block libraries.
inpro was an early pioneer and promoter of the development of simulation tools in use today. SIMPRO, the simulation system, was a direct result of inpro’s work. In the 1990s, SIMPRO completed over 500 simulation projects. According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, production systems can save up to 3% of investments via such simulations.