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