General Cable MSCI480 Project
| Background Information | Objectives | Authors | MSCI Honours Projects | General Cable Website | SIMUL8 Help Document |

Welcome to the General Cable MSCI480 Project Page

Daniel McGregor and Matthew Cain


With Guidance from Dr R. James and Dr J. Giffin



General Cable NZ Ltd has been investigating changing the layout, machinery and product flow within their Flexibles Factory. However, they are unsure of the flow-on effects of implementing these changes. The basis of this project was the construction of a detailed simulation model using SIMUL8 modelling software, to assist the managers in their evaluation of alternatives for their factory layout and to act as a decision making tool for the future. We illustrate the simulation that was constructed to represent the expected future state of the Factory and which will allow the managers to make decisions that are more informed. It also allows the managers to explore alterations on the Factory floor without having to physically implement them. We make an evaluation of this future state and include the assumptions, limitations and extensions to this project.

The Simulation

We chose to construct the simulation model using the SIMUL8 software package. It provides the necessary detail, including data collection and bookkeeping for modelling a large manufacturing organisation while remaining user friendly for novice modellers to use. A ‘drag-and-drop’ interface is used to build the basic elements of the model, namely, the work centers, storage and resources. A visual animation of the simulation as it runs is provided which helps stakeholders to understand the model. SIMUL8 uses a language called ‘Visual Logic’ to model more complex interactions. This code can be built into the simulation objects or at various other events, such as the simulation opening, and is executed when the appropriate event occurs. The model simulates a subset of the products produced in the factory which contribute to the majority of throughput. It allows users to explore and evaluate the the behaviour of the system under different conditions.


We have provided extensive documentation of both SIMUL8 and the the model itself. An Introduction to SIMUL8 was written which shows new users the basic features of the programme and how it is used to build simple models. In addition to this, a Technical Report provided information on the modelling detail, code, analysis and outlined how the model should be used and mantained. This will allow the staff at the Felibles Factory to continue to use the model in the future.


  1. One of the most useful and most important outcomes of this project is the data collection process. In the past the Flexibles Factory has not maintained a comprehensive set of data regarding their machinery capabilities. The data we have collected and also the collection process will therefore be extremely valuable.

  2. We were able to show that under high loads the factory will stuggle to meet production deadlines. According to the simulation model, the most effective way to counter this is to run the factory for additional days each week as required.

  3. We have also shown that it is important to align the production of the Wire Drawers (the 1st Process) with the production of Bunchers (the 2nd Process) to prevent excessive work-in-progress.

  4. There is the possibility of re-assigning low utilisation Work Centers such as the coilers but this can cause unwanted side effects, including work-in-progress stock piles.


We would like to acknowledge Cameron McOmish, the Flexibles Factory Production Manager, Mark Cantwell the Production Co-ordinator and the Flexibles Factory staff, for all the time and commitment they gave to us, and willingness to help whenever it required. In addition, the project supervisors, Dr John Giffin and Dr Ross James, who both gave us information, advice and feedback throughout the project.

| Background Information | Objectives | MSCI Honours Projects | General Cable Website | SIMUL8 Help Document |