Process Simulation Modelling of Dormer Tools (Sheffield) Ltd

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Process Simulation Modelling of Dormer Tools (Sheffield) Ltd

Simulation program user interface


Dormer Tools Sheffield Ltd a large local tool manufacturer requested the help of the university to understand areas for improvement of efficiencies in both of their manufacturing plants. The university suggested using a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Scheme to achieve their objectives. The overall aim of the project was to design, develop and implement an integrated simulation model of the factory, which would enable the company to identify areas of improvement leading to an increase in overall business performance. A graduate was placed at Dormer full time for the duration of the project which was two years and was supported by a lead academic from Sheffield Hallam.

The objectives of the project were as follows

  • to design a simulation model of the manufacturing operations
  • to integrate the model to existing data sources to allow automatic data capture
  • to develop a user interface using the VBA programming tool available within the Arena Simulation package
  • to implement and train operational staff in the use of the tool
  • to use the model to assess the impact of alternative approaches and the overall performance of the system
  • to implement the improvement actions


The models were used to evaluate Dormer’s manufacturing processes and played a key role in Lean Manufacturing and production review projects. Some results to from this project are as follows

  • Evaluation of manpower requirements for increased volumes in the Blank Prep area of the factory, estimates indicated up to an additional 23 people would be required. After using the model and analysing the data, a maximum of 8 people were required which resulted in a manpower saving of £375K.
  • In one area the work has identified a potential to reduce the number of machines and has enabled the identification and understanding of capacity constraints, also highlighting issues around manning and operator utilisation. Potential savings from this work are reduced Depreciation and Interest costs, manufacturing more jobs in-house as opposed to purchasing and increased sales
  • A potential to combine manufacturing cells was highlighted enabling CNC machines to be removed, increasing machine utilisation
  • Potential savings from machinery of £52K, calculated depreciation and interest. Also an increase in specials sales was identified.
  • Due to closer links with academia, further projects both now and in the future and also a second TCS program have been possible.
  • The company believes “The associate has brought fresh ideas and a new perspective into the company and is challenging the norm”
  • The associate is being utilised as a resource to facilitate the Lean Manufacturing initiative

This has helped us gain significant improvement in our processes and identified how we can eliminate waste.

Terry Allison, Managing Director

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