Q: Why is Factory Explorer® better than other software tools?
A: Factory Explorer® contains a capacity analysis
engine, a discrete event simulation engine, and a cost/revenue
analysis engine. Because these three engines read a common factory
model, there's no reason to build 3 separate models when in fact
90% of the data is common. With one Factory Explorer® model,
you can look at capacity, cycle time, and cost/revenue. No other
package can do this. Factory Explorer® was built by users,
not programmers. This means that we have crafted it to easily
answer the most common and most time-consuming tasks usually faced
during factory performance analysis projects. With other tools,
it's possible to answer the same questions, but it's so time consuming
or manually-intensive that it's almost impossible to finish on
time (e.g., try generating a cycle time contribution by tool group
chart using a regular simulation package). With Factory Explorer®,
we make it possible to answer in minutes questions that used to
require days of work, because we've faced those questions time
Q: What is the biggest benefit of using Factory Explorer®?
A: It allows you to anticipate the future and act
accordingly, rather than reacting to problems as they arise (e.g.,
planning a toolset so that bottlenecks don't arise during a ramp,
projecting that a factory will be profitable before the first wafer
is run, finding ways to reduce a factory's cycle time without experimenting
on the factory floor).
Q: How long does it take to build a validated Factory Explorer®
A: Depending on the availability of data, a reasonable
estimate is between 2 and 6 weeks serial time.
Q: Can Factory Explorer® model "X"?
A: Setups: Yes (both sequence-dependent and sequence-independent)
Alternative Steps: Yes (an unlimited # of alternatives
are possible for a step)
Multiple Downtimes: Yes (an unlimited # of downtimes
- scheduled and unscheduled - may be modeled)
Kanbans: Yes (model it as a step that seizes a resource,
but does not free it until later in process)
Within-Process Lot Splitting: Yes (lot is split into
sub-lots that are then recombined later in the process flow).
Q: Does Factory Explorer® have animation?
A: No, the existing automated output charts are
better able to answer most questions posed of Factory Explorer®.
Q: Can I customize Factory Explorer®?
A: Partially, with Factory Explorer® you can add your own code (C/C++) for custom dispatch rules.
Q: Does Factory Explorer® run on Excel 2000?
A: Yes, but note that Excel 2000 has 3 Security
Levels. The Low one allows for opening files with macros and the
Medium setting asks the user to chose to Disable or Enable macros
when it opens a file with macros. Those settings correspond to the
"off" and "on" settings for "Macro Virus Protection" in earlier
Excel versions. When the security setting of Excel 2000 is set to
High, a file with macros is opened with macros disabled giving NO
message to the user to indicate that has been done! This setting
is made in the Tools menu -- Tools/Macro/Security and should be
set to Medium so the user can choose to "Enable" macros.
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