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Chemical Manufacturer Supply Chain Modeling

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The Challenge

See the impact of increased capacity in advance to identify potential problems and any design changes could be made.

The Arena Solution

The consulting services team developed an Excel front-end for the Arena model. This front-end allowed the company’s engineers to specify tank capacities, initial volumes of product in the tanks, activity times in the shipping areas, production capacities of each production unit, manifold and piping configurations to and from the tanks, and the number of loading positions available. The system parameters specified in the front-end were read into the Arena model and used to define the production line, giving the chemical company the flexibility they needed to examine the present-day system as well as possible future system configurations.

Results

Based upon the supply chain simulation model results, the company was able to examine the impact of multiple process parameters on the performance of the system and make informed decisions to improve system throughput. The model verified a lack of storage capacity and showed that if certain production criteria could be met, the product assignment could be reconfigured in the existing tanks, eliminating the need to purchase any additional tanks.

The simulation model demonstrated that no additional capital investments were required for the current expansion plan. However, the biggest benefit of the Arena simulation was the ability to run the model with future product forecasts in order to identify constraints and bottlenecks. Early detection of potential problems provided the chemical company sufficient time to correct them. In addition, the supply chain simulation model could support decisions on future capital expenditures.

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Background

The engineers at a Gulf Coast chemical facility needed to test expansion plans for a production line consisting of many production units whose products are intermediates used in making polyurethanes. The design of the major expansion had been completed, but it had not been verified with regard to available storage tanks and shipping capacities.