Arena is discrete event simulation and automation software developed by Systems Modeling and
acquired by Rockwell Automation in 2000. It uses the SIMAN processor and
simulation language. As of Dec 2016, it is in version 15, providing significant
enhancements in optimization, animation and inclusion of 64bit operation for modeling
processes with ‘Big Data’. It has been suggested that Arena may join other
Rockwell software packages under the “Factory Talk” brand.
the user builds an experiment model by placing modules (boxes of different shapes) that represent
processes or logic. Connector lines are used to join these modules together and
to specify the flow of entities.
While modules have specific actions relative to entities, flow, and timing, the
precise representation of each module and entity relative to real-life objects
is subject to the modeler. Statistical data, such as cycle time and WIP (work
in process) levels, can be recorded and made output as reports.
Arena is used
by companies engaged in simulating business processes. Some of these firms
include General Motors, UPS, IBM, Nike, Xerox, Lufthansa, Ford Motor Company, and others. It
has been noted that creating a simulation can require more time at the
beginning of a project, but quicker installations and product optimizations can
reduce overall project time. Arena
can simulate diverse operation types, including call centers, for optimizing
the use of agents and phone lines, the size and routing of pancake stacks in a
food processing facility, and
the design of a gold mine and optimizing layout of industry.
Arena uses an
entity-based, flowcharting methodology for modeling dynamic processes. Most
other commercial simulation products are code-based and require programming in
proprietary scripting languages and many simulation products force the user to
concentrate primarily on animating a process rather than documenting it. Arena
is a Visio-compatible and flowcharting tool. Entities in an Arena model proceed
through a flow chart of the process and seize control of resource capacity as
they are processed. The flowchart approach to model building makes the most
sense to engineers and to process designers who must be able to carefully
document a process in order to accurately model it and analyze it. This results
in models that become highly detailed documents of the processes being studied.
Arena’s flowcharting methodology makes Arena easier to learn than other
simulation tools. Besides that, it is easier to validate, verify, and debug,
easier to communicate the intricacies of complex processes to others and ease
of use translates to rapid model development.
Each of the modules is basically a
combination of various pieces of SIMAN code that have been packaged together
for the more popular coding scenarios. Arena also provides a blocks template
that contains the individual pieces of logic that make up the pre-packaged
modules. For example, as shown in figure a process module in the basic process
template contains logic to seize and release a resource along with logic to delay
the process for a specified duration in the interim. In the blocks template a
user can find each of these logic pieces, such as seize, as individual pieces
that can be added to the model. This allows a user to combine any of these
logic pieces as they see fit in order to achieve the modeling logic needed