Simulation: a key technology
As educators, you provide the real insight for students to make simulation an effective tool in their careers. The core of our educational initiative is our innovative textbook that is a combination of practical problem solving application and the theoretical and foundational material needed in a simulation course. Consequently, we offer substantial incentives for those in the education community to encourage their research and teaching initiatives and especially to those adopting and requiring our textbook.
FlexSim’s education team understands academe and we realize the challenges of teaching simulation and the startup involved when changing software. Therefore, we provide access to extensive teaching materials that will aide in all phases of the transition.
This page also contains many tools that will allow you to focus your in-class time to simulation instead of focusing on the software. A series of short videos – the simulation insight series – helps students learn about Flexsim on their own. A four week online class introduces how to model using FlexSim. Direct access to the authors for pedagogical support allows quick response and feedback. And an educator forum allows educators to share teaching hints and methods.
Please visit our educational store to obtain your own copy of Applied Simulation: Modeling and Analysis using FlexSim.
Since its introduction in 2010, the textbook Applied Simulation: Modeling and Analysis using FlexSim has become an integral part of curriculums in colleges and universities throughout the world. The reason for its success is based on the unique application focus of the book, the ease of use and robustness of FlexSim software, with the commitment of continued support to both students and educators.
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Considering starting a simulation course at your university? Interested in switching simulation platforms? Curious about FlexSim? Whatever your needs, we are here to help.
When we decided to develop an education program we knew that we wanted to keep it as low cost as possible while maintaining a high quality program and product. We have managed to do this by keeping the publishing in house so we control the cost. Because we publish in house we can quickly release updated versions as the software changes.
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We know that switching to a new textbook is a lot of work. We’ve got the textbook background and related supporting materials to help you quickly get up to speed. Check out the FlexSim Textbook page to learn more. You can even read excerpts from the book.
We understand that for a professor, switching to a new software means work. It means redesigning a new course and class. We want to make the switch as easy and effortless as possible. This is why we’ve created a course outline for you. When you switch to FlexSim you are given access to a password protected database with everything you need to develop a course: syllabus, PowerPoint presentations, quizzes, tests, and worksheets.
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Completed Models for all Chapter Exercises
These models, found in the “Chapter Exercises” folder, contain solutions to each of the exercises in the book. Some models also show alternative solutions.
Models for all Examples
Many chapters in the textbook cover simulation concepts by using FlexSim as an example. These corresponding model files can be found in the “Chapter Examples” folder.
Full Course Materials
Dr. Allen Greenwood and Bill Nordgren have generously made available the complete set of materials from their simulation courses, including slides, quizzes, exams, projects, and syllabus.
This manual was developed by the textbook authors and includes solutions to all end-of-chapter review questions and textbook exercises.
Simulation Insight video series
The Simulation Insight Series was created so that educators can assign individual videos to students as homework. Which allows class time to be spent on simulation theory and practice. They are a series of short videos that expand upon simulation concepts and their FlexSim application. They are synchronized with and support the textbook material.
Frequently Asked questions
The FlexSim textbook is based on the premise that simulation adds value when it’s applied to solve a problem. Consequently, the book is entirely focused on applying simulation. Every exercise describes an operational problem that students must analyze, decide how best to use simulation, and then develop an answer to the problem. Answers to the exercises often involve students recognizing operational trade-offs. Review questions at the end of each chapter serve as reminders of the application techniques in the chapter. Statistics and other theoretical topics are presented as they pertain to applying simulation.
Experience has shown that less class time is spent having to teach the software. FlexSim’s ease of use and extensive pre-built logic selections mean that students are ready to handle significantly more complex applications without having to write software code. The advanced functionality of FlexSim allows the course to cover topics not included in other books.
Additionally, since all work is carried out in a 3D environment, students show more interest in expanding their work and experimenting with simulation. They add realism to their models by using FlexSim’s 3D objects or by importing existing objects from drawing packages, including AutoCAD, ProE, Solid Works, Catia, 3D Studio, AC3D, Rivit, and Google Sketch-Up to name a few. Also, students can import thousands of 3D objects into their FlexSim models from Google’s 3D Warehouse.
There are two topics in particular that are covered extensively in this book that are not normally covered in any depth by other simulation textbooks. The first involves simulating fluid or continuous-state change models. Since many manufacturing, and other systems, contain fluid as well as discrete elements, this book dedicates a chapter to simulating hybrid fluid-discrete systems. FlexSim has a standard library of objects for simulating fluids that can represent a liquid or high-speed solid material flow such as grain or sugar. Students build simulations of a mixing and batching system and a grain loading facility.
The second new topic involves scheduling in simulated systems. In the chapter on production scheduling, students simulate the control of production lines that are scheduled by a central controller. Students are faced with decisions concerning where to appropriately measure production and how to handle material that remains on the line once the requisite number of units has been produced. Exercises in both of these chapters do not require programming because of standard FlexSim functionality.
There are chapters dedicated to both input and output analysis. Statistical theory is reviewed as it pertains to the analysis. The chapter on input modeling or modeling randomness includes a discussion of the analysis software ExpertFit, which is included in the student edition. The chapter on output analysis discusses constructing experimental designs and carrying out the analysis of the simulated data. It includes a discussion of how to determine the length of the simulation run and how to statistically compare results.
Correctly simulating reliability is becoming a very important application topic. FlexSim’s standard software allows students to model and understand basic reliability issues without any programming. FlexSim’s reliability capability is much easier to use and more powerful than many other applications. A chapter is dedicated to modeling equipment reliability; it has the students building simulations with multiple types of downtimes and where breakdowns are based on their state.
The consistent structure of FlexSim’s objects make building models easy. Of course, a quickly built model doesn’t mean it will be a good one, especially if the building process is carried out without understanding the system being modeled, modeling and operational assumptions, and how the simulator works, at least at a basic level. Consequently, the book dedicates two chapters to the “professional practice of simulation”. In these chapters students learn to describe, represent, and analyze an operations system, understand the importance of interfacing with all the people involved with a simulation, determine the basic problem to be analyzed or solved, identify the objectives and measurement metrics, decide on where to focus the simulation, describe the assumptions that are needed, and then specify the simulation work. Students learn to relate to commonly used tools such as value stream maps and to add dynamic details needed for the simulation. A simulation project template, based on extensive industrial experience, is used as a guide for the process.
The textbook has already been used successfully for undergraduate, graduate, and short courses in simulation. The book is organized according to the three typical levels of user: Occasional, Intermediate, and Advanced. By selectively choosing material, courses can be easily customized.
An educator community site (Password protected) is available and contains lecture, quiz, test, and project material. The authors are available and can be directly contacted for questions and support. Also, FlexSim has an Educator Coordinator and is scheduling educator workshops.
FlexSim is object-oriented and more. Object-oriented simulation software offers more consistency in the application structure, thus making it much easier to use. However, many competitors push their object-oriented software but don’t have the software architecture behind the scenes to take full advantage of it. FlexSim’s unique hierarchical structure with its visualization capability is state of the art and takes object-orientation to a new level to benefit users.
FlexSim Software Products, Inc. has been developing, supporting and selling 3D simulation and optimization software since 1993. Bill Nordgren, President of FlexSim, is a simulation pioneer who co-founded ProModel in 1988 and helped it to become a worldwide leader in the field. Along with Cliff King and Roger Hullinger, Bill also introduced Taylor II and Taylor ED to the North American simulation market. They understood that changing simulation technology, user base, and customer needs were driving the marketplace toward easier to use tools. In time, the trio added Dr. Eamonn Lavery and Anthony Johnson to their development team.
FlexSim was the first of its kind and is still the leader in functionality and 3D visualization that others now try to follow. Based on its state-of-the-art simulation engine and software architecture, FlexSim has created world-class applications in the fields of healthcare, container terminal operations, distributed simulation over multiple computers, agent-based simulation, 3D software presentations, etc. FlexSim has also created in-house simulators using the FlexSim engine for several Fortune 500 companies.
Support for the textbook and software is available via FlexSim’s normal support system, as well by contacting the authors directly or FlexSim’s Education Coordinator.
Students can purchase the software individually and download it directly to their own computer or they can use it via their university’s network. FlexSim has worked with colleges and universities to provide customized methods for obtaining the software.
The student version of FlexSim is fully functional – all modeling objects (discrete and fluid, as well as custom library objects), hierarchical tree access, multi-scenario experimenter, spreadsheet and database accessibility, ability to modify objects via custom code, and the use of ExpertFit – data analysis software developed by Averill Law. While models of any size can be run on the software, new models are limited to 100 objects – a limit that doesn’t even come close to the most advanced models used in the textbook and most simulation courses. This limit can be increased if requested by the educator teaching the course.
The whole concept of using FlexSim for education is that the book and student software will be fully integrated with the standard, commercial version of FlexSim. There will be no waiting for a new version of the textbook to be published when a new version of FlexSim is released. The textbook will be continually updated via FlexSim’s educator website in order to keep pace with changing simulation technology.
After class or graduation, students can still open their models to review their work using an evaluation copy of FlexSim or any standard FlexSim license.
For many years FlexSim has supported, and continues to support, students worldwide with fully functional licenses of its latest version for use with special projects and research efforts. FlexSim is the software of choice for education in China. The textbook is only the latest chapter in this commitment. In addition to the book, FlexSim is committed to an extensive support structure for educators who use the text.