Kilgore Flares is one of four operating companies in ATK's Conventional Munitions Group. It designs and produces small, medium, and large caliber ammunition, munitions propellants, commercial gunpowder, infrared decoy flares, munitions primers and tracers. Based in the United States, Kilgore is the largest supplier of conventional IR decoys to the U.S. Department of Defense.
Kilgore uses advanced conveyor control to build flares of different sizes and specifications. Using full automation, pyrotechnic material is mixed and conveyed in discrete quantities to the processing segment of the facility where the material is pressed or extruded into a final configuration. With a single product line, optimization scenarios are simple and can be implemented quickly. However, with multiple product requirements shared on the same line, optimizing throughput is significantly more complex and critical to the operation. In addition, faced with some normal equipment failures and changes in the downtime and recovery operation, it became apparent that simulation software was required to capture the intricate details of the model.
To perform the optimization analysis, Kilgore engineers used CreateASoft's Simcad Pro process simulation and modeling software to create a virtual replica of the existing line. Simcad Pro can simplify the creation and implementation of conveyors and conveyor interfaces, which helped reduce the time required to build the model. To expedite what-if scenario studies, Simcad Pro's real-time analysis tool provided immediate feedback on the status of each process and parts within the operation. The model allowed Kilgore to apply ideas that optimize the line without disrupting the operation. Different scenarios and variables were tested (some dynamically) to help achieve an optimal solution that increases the line throughput based on product mixes.
"By varying parameters such as number of discrete quantities of material, size, and number of material carriers, conveyor speed, and product rotation, we can determine a theoretical maximum process throughput per day. Additionally, by including MTBF, downtime, and recovery time, we can determine a higher resolution process capability." -- R. Doyle of Kilgore.
With a complete and optimized simulation model, Simcad Pro can be used as a forecasting tool. By loading WIP levels and forecasted product requirements, Simcad Pro can detect issues that may arise. As a forecasting tool, Simcad Pro aids production management to maintain line optimization regardless of the changes in order rate, product mix, and machine downtime.
Simcad Pro allowed Kilgore to achieve optimized production and throughput on the line while maintaining multiple product capabilities. Moreover, Simcad's ease of use was crucial for Kilgore to build and analyze models quickly then convey the changes to its production workers.
"Not only did it allow [them] to consider alternative processes quickly, but the animation allowed people on the assembly line to see their operation in action and understand the timing of the whole process." -- says Doyle.
Simcad Pro has helped process-oriented users maximize productivity and control costs across every industry. Created by efficiency engineering experts, it makes a small but powerful replica of a business that behaves like a real-world model. Combining advanced data analysis, virtual modeling, and the best in simulation technology, Simcad Pro delivers detailed statistical results of every operation within the model. And while traditional process simulation software focuses on the plant floor, Simcad Pro can be scaled to improve efficiencies in every part of the enterprise. An open architecture and intuitive user interface make Simcad Pro the ideal process re-engineering and optimization tool for the finance department, customer call centers, factory floors, assembly lines, or any other business unit comprised of complex, recurring processes and outputs.