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Frequently Asked Questions.

If you have a question that is not answered here, why not use our Forum? This can be found on SimKit�s support site simkit.co.uk. Use the navigation bar above, to reach it. Your question may either be answered by us or another user. If you are an experienced existing user, why not help others by actually answering queries posted by them?

Please note that all SimKit�s technical documentation is also available online. This should help resolve other questions that you might have.

What is Simulation?

Simulation, in the context of SimKit, is a technique used to predict the behaviour of certain systems, for example, those in manufacturing industry, without having the actual hardware or facilities. Simulation is valuable because it helps you to optimise system designs before committing to expenditure. Simulation can take many forms, but in the case of SimKit it involves building a model of the system under study in a computer. Information about the system is fed in and behavioural data comes out.

What is SimKit?

SimKit is a computer aided design tool called a simulator that is produced by ROSIM Systems. It is used for the design and optimisation of a wide range of systems in commerce, science and industry.

Why SimKit?

SimKit is short for Simulation Kit. The Sim bit is obvious but the Kit part is to emphasise that SimKit is not just a single application but a kit of software parts which you use to build and run models to obtain predicted behavioural information about systems. Because SimKit is supplied in this component form it means that your simulation tool gives you the flexibility that you will want to help solve your individual problems. What is more, it will be easy to maintain and enhance as your expertise grows.

Where did SimKit come from?

SimKit came out of the need for a powerful but easy to use simulation tool at a low price that can be used throughout commerce science and industry. Traditionally, system simulation tools have been expensive and this high price has deterred many from applying this extremely valuable technique � particularly in the developing world. With the introduction of SimKit this problem has been effectively solved.

How does SimKit work?

In short, SimKit works by you building a model of the system being planned or investigated, on screen, using a standard �drag and drop� technique. The symbols that are used to represent the activities in your system are then interconnected. Naturally you must supply parametric information about the components that you have used and the operational circumstances of your system. When you then run the model to perform the simulation, lots of behavioural data is produced that you can then analyse to help you make your important decisions.

What kind of information does SimKit produce?

Essentially, behavioural data. In detail, process and task utilisations, system bottlenecks, buffer and queue contents, throughput and more. The data is available in both numerical and graphical form. SimKit can also display animations which convey the context and purpose of the system to those less familiar with system design.

Is the behavioural data that SimKit produces absolute?

Emphatically no. Nor could it ever be. No simulation tool from any source can do that because it implies predicting the future � in technical terms, random events - with absolute certainty, which is, of course, impossible. Can you tell with absolute certainty when a customer is going to enter a bank or shop, for example? All that SimKit can do, like any other simulation tool, is indicate the probability of a system design behaving as predicted. You must make the final judgement and for critical applications we additionally recommend that you validate your findings by independent means. It means lots of work and we publish a Technical Note on how this may be done on our support site. However, simulation is clearly much better than guesswork, which is the popular option for dealing with these complex systems.

If simulation can�t produce absolute results, what good is it then?

As the answer to the previous question states, it is clearly better than guesswork. But beyond that even the discipline involved in building a model of your system, gathering all the information about it, experimenting with it and analysing results often helps avoid those fundamental blunders that can critically damage confidence in a design that, fundamentally, may be good and innovative. In other words, it gives you a better chance to get it right.

Some simulators produce 3D models, does that help?

In some circumstances it may. For example, such models are often used to impress potential clients who may understand little about simulation or the system being proposed. However, 3D �virtual reality� models may actually provide little additional information over the 2D symbolic form used by SimKit. You have to decide whether the additional cost of these tools, and the often considerable extra work involved in producing 3D models, is cost effective. This is something you may want to move up to only at a later stage.

Simulation seems interesting, how can I get more information?

The appearance of simulation tools like SimKit has filled a very obvious need for many industries and much work and research is being done to improve them and apply them. Many Universities and other institutions support or undertake this research work both here in the UK, throughout Europe and particularly the USA where the technique has been enthusiastically received. A good place to start are those that have a department devoted to manufacturing engineering.

Other sources of information are the companies that produce the tools themselves. These tend towards the philanthropic, the main aim being to supply the tool that, above all, suits the need of the customer. Their web-sites often supply information of a general nature, including links to other suppliers and organisations working in the field. Some of these links are given below. Please note that we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information they contain.

www.simul8.com A simulation package originating at Strathclyde University, but now distributed from the USA. Trial download available. Lots of links to other sites.

www.cranfield.ac.uk One of the U.K's leading post-graduate universities with a well known Manufacturing Systems Department.

SimKit seems a good tool now, but what about the future?

The important thing to appreciate about SimKit is that after you have registered your copy it is largely future-proof. That is, when new utilities and components come along you simply download them from www.simkit.co.uk (please note that you may have to pay for some upgrades) and add them to your system. There are no complex risky install procedures forcing you to re-boot your system, for example. If there's any thing that you don't use, just throw it away. If there are problems with any modules, they can simply be replaced when a fix becomes available.

In 2002 we have planned a new utility called LibGen so that you can compile component libraries with ease and this will be followed by new components, including the first of the pre-configured sub-system components (configurable sub-system components are already available) which should make modelling that much easier. All these upgrades will be FREE!

In addition, we at ROSIM Systems like to work with you so if you have any special requirements please let us know, either through the Forum Page or, directly, by e-mail and we shall try our best to be accommodating.


(c) ROSIM Systems.

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