UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Developing simulation models to improve the production process of a parallam mill Opacic, Luke


Engineered wood products are manufactured by adhering small pieces of wood together with a bonding agent. They have many benefits. They allow the logs to be used more completely and more efficiently. They can increase the structural efficiency of wood frame construction, and natural wood defects can be dispersed in the product, which increases the uniformity of the mechanical and physical properties. Parallam® is one of these engineered wood products. It is manufactured in only two facilities in the world – Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and Buckhannon, West Virginia, United States. Parallam is manufactured from a grade of veneer that is not suitable for other products using Douglas Fir at the Canadian plant, and various species of pine at the American plant. The veneer is cut into strands, which are then adhered into long billets and are cut into the desired sizes. The Canadian plant was experiencing limitations in their total throughput, and was interested in exploring solutions to improve it. Since production operations are complex and subject to a variety of uncertainties and complexities, discrete-event simulation modelling was used to analyze the processes and evaluate potential improvement scenarios. Two projects were conducted in this research where simulation models were developed to analyze different scenarios for possible alternative plant configurations or policies. The first project analyzed the replacement of a machine, changing the policy of order customization, and the flow of quality assurance pieces. The main finding was that the machine replacement had no positive impact on the throughput and should not be done. In addition, it was determined that a decrease in the amount of customization could increase the throughput by 20%. The second project analyzed the worker-machine interactions within the entire mill and the automation of an outfeed conveyor. The main finding was that the addition of one worker to the packaging station and the automation of the conveyor could result in a 22% increase in throughput. Further research should be conducted to assess the impact of quality assurance pieces through the mill, or to assess the impact of different workers’ schedules instead of just their assignments.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International