Lacking a model based engineering tool, Industrial Engineers at Boeing have been using Microsoft EXCEL spreadsheets to calculate production system capacity and cost. In 2017, the Production System Analysis (PSA) team was tasked to use Aurora, which is a Boeing Authorized constraint-based scheduling tool developed by Stottler Henke Associates, Inc., to demonstrate a model based system engineering approach to production system design and analysis.
The PSA team took an existing airplane program as a test bed and developed a standard format, or definition, of operation plan, build plan, and resource plan to describe the airplane production system architecture. The standard format allows correct transformation of architecture to an Aurora based 1-Airplane (AP) network flow model. With this 1-AP network model, an N-AP composite model is built to simulate airplane production at a rate. As the N-AP model is scheduled, Aurora calculates the optimal resource capacity to support a stable production at its minimum critical path flow and reports resource capacity in the resource Load Report. Aurora also provides minute-by-minute resource utilization, for each resource, in Histograms or Spatial Plots. The entire model based engineering process provides a solid foundation for future production system capacity analysis.