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The Virtual Factory


This module will help you investigate how digital manufacturing concepts and tools can be used to speed up the design process for new facilities.


Upon completion of this module successful candidates will be able to:

  1. Evaluate how information systems technologies can be used to develop detailed plans for manufacturing facilities.
  2. Evaluate how changes to demand, working hours, machinery failure or planned maintenance can affect the factory output.
  3. Describe the role of simulation technologies in refining system designs and in supporting investment appraisal.
  4. Compare and contrast virtual factory methods with conventional techniques and evaluate their relative capabilities, advantages and disadvantages
  5. Define sequences and part paths for the assembly of multilevel products
  6. Assess the suitability of products for assembly by human resources
  7. Model the information and process flows that are needed to support an effective virtual factory project.
  8. Critically evaluate the integration issues associated with combining a range of modelling technologies in an efficient manner


  1. The role of software applications in the development of detailed factory design.
  2. Information exchange and the role of databases
  3. Selecting and managing the application portfolio
  4. Validation and testing of models
  5. Managing changing requirements
  6. Modelling the information
  7. The application of workflow techniques
  8. Project Management issues
  9. Information requirements for detailed business planning
  10. Modelling for workcell layout
    • Human ergonomics
    • Robot simulation
  11. Discrete event simulation
    • Machines
    • Materials handling
    • Human resources
    • Process flow
  12. Investment appraisal / decision support: Utilisation, WIP, Capacity and Throughput.
  13. Kinematic representations for equipment and layout design
  14. Safety in the Workplace: issues and opportunities from use of IT
    Job Design and Evaluation
  15. Off-line Programming of Robots – relationship with CADCAM.


5 days

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Please note: the details of this module are correct for the current year of study and may be subject to change for future years.