International Process Simulation Challenge

How bbw University of Applied Sciences and ESPRIT helped create a unique learning experience using FlexSim

From December 14-16, 2018, bbw University of Applied Sciences (bbw Hochschule) hosted the first International Process Simulation Challenge. The event was held as part of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)-sponsored German-Arab short-term measures program, where bbw University of Applied Sciences invited engineering students and staff from their Tunisian partner university, ESPRIT, to Berlin.

The ESPRIT students spent the first half of the weekend training students from bbw University of Applied Sciences’ International Technology Transfer Management (ITTM) Master’s program on how to use FlexSim. Once the ITTM students had a good foundation in the software, they were given a modeling challenge to solve in teams of four. The team with the best solution would win internships at one of two partner firms that were supporting the event. FlexSim provided the licenses for the weekend, and also gave the winning four ITTM students year-long access to the student version of the program to further hone their skills in process simulation modeling.

“The intensive three-day nature of the challenge gave all the participants a solid grounding in the process modeling software in a compact amount of time,” said Prof. Dr. Uwe Kaschka, Director of the ITTM Master’s Program at bbw University of Applied Sciences. “It provided the students with a strong basis for improved employability, since such a modeling skillset would be advantageous to companies they employ.”

For both the German and Tunisian students, the challenge “gave them an introductory experience similar to the kind of intercultural and inter-communicational environments they will be greeted with when they enter the workforce.”

The students were given the task of optimizing a refrigeration manufacturing plant. Several steps were involved—from preparing the refrigerator tank, handling defective fridges and quality control, to packaging and dispatch. The participants were required to create a production line based on conveyers and then use the dashboard to identify:

  • occupancy rate of the product assembly
  • non-compliant products
  • number of refrigerators stored in the finished product storage area

Finally, the students were asked to give a four-minute explanation of the model they had created and answer any questions from the audience.

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