SUNConferences, Southern African Institute of Industrial Engineering 2013

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Engineering Validation Through Simulation
Matthys Hendrik Greeff

Last modified: 2013-06-20


One of the inherent risks when conducting any engineering design project is the over- or under design of key functional elements along with the impact of unforeseen operational intricacies. Ports are prime examples of a complex system with numerous interdependent operations.

Engineering design validation bridges the gap between theoretical design criteria and actual operational performance. Discrete event simulation technology, as an industrial engineering tool, creates a risk-free platform for engineering design validation.  A simulation study would support the design team with timeous feedback on potential design pitfalls whilst providing the ability to test mitigation and improvement actions.

LTS Consulting collaborated with Aurecon to conduct a feasibility study on the required expansion of the Port of Richard's Bay. The initial concept designs were modelled and used to test, improve and validate operational procedures, such as commodity to berth allocation, whilst the utilisation of high-value items were measured.

Using simulation to evaluate the designs, multiple improvements and critical constraints were identified and addressed, such as the removal of redundant rail lines, optimisation of the conveyor routing and the quantitative study on the required amount of additional berths. These examples highlight the value and importance to why engineering design validation is a necessity.