Layout optimisation for production systems in the wool industry using discrete event simulation

Ruba Al-zqebah, Florian Hoffmann, Nick Bennett, Jochen Deuse, Lee Clemon


Purpose: Computer-aided production engineering simulation is a common approach in the search for improvements to real systems. They are used in various industrial sectors and are a basis for optimization. Such production simulations have found limited use in the wool industry. This study aims to compare the performance of different woolshed layouts (curved vs linear).  

Design/methodology/approach: A discrete event simulation is constructed for both considered layouts in Siemens Technomatix Plant Simulation software. Data from an in-field observational visit to a working woolshed is used to validate the simulation model. The different layouts are compared in their base configuration and with equipment and worker changes to evaluate the impacts on throughput.

Findings: In the base configurations, the curved layout reduces some worker travel time which increases production by 11 fleeces per day over the linear layout. The addition of an extra skirting table in the curved layout further increases throughout by 30 fleeces per day. The addition of more wool handlers does not have as large of an impact indicating that processing limits occur due to equipment capacity and shearer speed.

Practical implications: This verifies the proposed curved shed layout improves production and gives farmers the ability to compute the long-term economic impact. The results also highlight that other processing stages in the shed need adjustment for more system gains.

Originality/value: This is the first application of discrete event simulation to evaluate woolsheds operations and introduce multiple improvement scenarios.


Discrete Event Simulation, Digital Model, Plant Simulation, Woolshed, Optimization

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Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2023

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience