Gain the Benefits of WES-enabled Simulation and Emulation

Gain the Benefits of WES-enabled Simulation and Emulation

Gain the Benefits of WES-enabled Simulation and Emulation

Historically, organizations seeking to leverage the predictive powers of simulation and emulation technologies have been restricted to either working with outside consultants or opting for solutions that were only available for demos of prospective system designs. Today, these powerful capabilities are now available to distribution and fulfillment (D&F) centers by utilizing products like eSim, a unique offering within the Momentum warehouse execution system (WES). In fact, D&F operators now have the capability to run countless scenarios on their own.

Although distribution center simulation and emulation processes are closely related, each serves a very specific function.

Simulation digitally approximates system behaviors and performance by using a set of mathematical, logical and physics-based inputs and assumptions to calculate a system’s anticipated responses. This allows hundreds of possible scenarios to be tested quickly. As a result, the most efficient designs and processes can be identified before any physical material handling equipment (MHE) is commissioned.

Emulation, a physics-based approximation, uses the actual machine control (MC) code (or other software) to control digital replicas of physical MHE. By precisely duplicating the responses of the machine, emulation enables software code to be validated much earlier in the project lifecycle before on-site work begins. This significantly streamlines installation and commissioning.

How Simulation and Emulation Enhance Productivity

At one point, the ability to test changes to established processes, current equipment, order volumes, inventory capacities and headcounts simply didn’t exist. Yet many operations managers — whether considering a greenfield project, brownfield retrofit or expansion — feared making the wrong investment and deferred upgrades while demanding more from then-current systems and equipment.

But now a new option has emerged.

eSim, an add-on module for Honeywell Intelligrated’s Momentum WES, is a simulation and emulation tool that creates a digital replica of existing automated MHE and software. It combines the benefits of both simulation and emulation, allowing operations to achieve higher productivity goals, decrease installation time and costs, all while meeting the challenges of the future.

With eSim, operations managers can explore a range of possibilities, evaluating various options to help them keep up with exploding e-commerce, tighter standards from customers and increasing consumer expectations. The outcomes derived by eSim can inform decisions about the optimal ways to increase productivity and throughput.

Answering the “What-ifs”

With eSim, an operation can derive higher efficiencies with the abilities to compare and evaluate multiple “what-if” scenarios, such as:

  • The impact of peak season on equipment capacity and staffing needs
  • The effect of changes in demand patterns and product mixes on warehouse storage capacity and throughput
  • The ability of an operation to handle extra capacity through pressure testing of systems against a variety of volumes
  • The impact of different staffing levels per workflow, shift or process
  • The effect of various disruptions and breakdowns, and their likelihood of occurring within a given time frame
  • Implementing various types of equipment into an existing system to validate potential investment
  • The result of a change in conveyor or sorter routing to overall product flow

Facilities applying eSim to test existing operations and determine the effect of potential modifications could experience, at the minimum:

  • 2 to 3% less overstaffing
  • 3 to 5% reduction in unplanned downtime

Saving Time and Money

eSim provides a clear understanding of how systems will work — and what performance improvements they will deliver — before making an investment. Utilizing eSim’s emulation function allows the details of a new distribution center design to be tested in a virtual environment, minimizing last-minute bugs and cutting troubleshooting time. This ensures on-time and successful deployments through software validation, integration testing and commissioning.

Benefit From Virtual Training Environments

eSim’s WES-enabled simulation solutions can be used to create interactive training tools that enhance employee performance. New associates can be trained with virtual reality (VR) headsets in a virtual environment, where they can practice picking, sorting, goods-to-person (GTP) station activities, quality control (QC) and more, prior to working on the floor. This saves time and reduces the chance of a new employee making a costly mistake.

Further, eSim’s VR simulation capability can create virtual training to prepare current employees for new features or functions on existing equipment. It can also be used to refresh skills, become familiar with new machinery or processes, or acclimate to a new facility layout.

With eSim, overall training efficiency can be increased by 10%.

Ready to put the power of greater predictability to work for your operation? Explore Momentum eSim.

To subscribe to our blog and receive exclusive communications and updates from Honeywell Intelligrated, click here.