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Micro Saint Sharp Product Tour

Here you can learn more about Micro Saint Sharp and how it works.  Here is a list of topics that we will cover: 

 

Micro Saint Sharp Introduction

Micro Saint Sharp is a powerful discrete event simulation tool that allows you to quickly build models.  Any process that can be represented by a flow chart can be modeled using Micro Saint Sharp.  Micro Saint Sharp is designed to be flexible for use in a variety of applications.

Advantages of Simulation

  • Helps to model random variation in different processes
  • Helps determine under what circumstances variation occurs
  • Potential savings in time, money, and energy
  • Easy to represent “What-if?” scenarios

Buy Only What You Need

Modularity is also unique to Micro Saint Sharp.  Many simulation tools come with all the components in one package whether you need them or not.  Because of Micro Saint Sharp's new plug-in interface and object-oriented model development, integration is a snap; not only with other external software applications but with its own individual tools.  The optional tools available with Micro Saint Sharp include optmization using OptQuest and animation using Animator. 

  • Micro Saint Sharp - Silver Version comes with the network drawing tool.
  • Micro Saint Sharp - Gold Version comes with everything in the Silver version plus Animator, Animator3D, OptQuest and the Communication plug-in.

Animation

Micro Saint Sharp offers you not one, but three ways to animate your model.  The network diagram comes to life when you run your model.  Or choose Animator that shows you realistic picture quality animations of your process.  Or now you can have a virtual environment that represents your desired process with Animator3D.  Regardless of what your needs are for visualization, Micro Saint Sharp has got it covered.  Here is an example of a simple Animator animation of a bank teller model:

 

 

Here is an example of an Animator3D animation of an emergency room: 

 

Optimization

One of the optional tools in Micro Saint Sharp is an optimization tool called OptQuest.  OptQuest automatically searches for and finds optimal or near optimal solutions to your Micro Saint Sharp simulation models.  Watch OptQuest in action:

 

 

  

 

Micro Saint Sharp Applications

 

Manufacturing

In every manufacturing organization, the pressure of finding ways to reduce costs while improving throughput and quality is endless.  Large and small companies have successfully used Micro Saint to decrease cycle time, decrease work-in- progress, increase throughput, and choose alternatives for capacity planning.  Micro Saint Sharp has also been used to redesign existing factories and aid in the design of new facilities.

 

Human Factors

The applications of Micro Saint Sharp are broad in the field of Human Factors and Ergonomics.  Micro Saint Sharp can be used to look at human workload, workplace design, and integrated human-system performance for practically any application in which people are involved.  Systems designed for people to operate are getting more and more complex.  Micro Saint Sharp can help answer questions associated with what tasks might be required, what the workload will be for the operator, and how best to reduce that workload to optimize system performance.

 

Military

Doing more with less is a familiar theme in the military.  Micro Saint Sharp can help determine where the potential for cost savings can be made in reducing manning levels or automating certain procedures.  For example, Micro Saint Sharp simulation models can demonstrate what happens to overall performance when you use fewer people on an aircraft or a ship.

 

Health Care

As we enter the 21st century, health care costs are at an all time high.  Costs are scrutinized carefully and cuts are made if they are not justified.  Using Micro Saint Sharp, a health care analyst can model the process of their facility and look at “What if” scenarios before any decisions are made.  For example, models can be built that simulate whether to add a new hospital wing or make adjustments to the staffing level of doctors and nurses. (see http://www.hospitalsimulation.info for a description of a large scale healthcare modeling project “District General Hospital Performance Simulation” project (DGHPSim)).

 

 

 

New in Micro Saint Sharp

 

Increased Power

Micro Saint Sharp uses the Microsoft C# language which allows you to build more complex mathematical and logical expressions and algorithms.  You have more variable options now including integer, floating point, string, boolean, object as well as local and global variables.  Another neat feature of Micro Saint Sharp is the intelli-prompt capability.  Different parts of your model will be color coded like comments and keywords.  It will also automatically display available properties for the object you are using in a list box as shown below.

 

 

Speed

Micro Saint Sharp is much faster than Micro Saint by a factor of 10.  It was designed to allow for seamless integration which increases the execution speed.  In addition, there is now a mode in which you can run your model just for results and turn off everything else.  So when you need results as quickly as possible, Micro Saint Sharp is ready to perform!  There is also an option to run the model in real time which allows Micro Saint Sharp to better support distributed simulations.

 

New Look and Feel

The model development environment is completely customizable.  You can open, close, and move any of the panels in the display.  We provide you with default layouts for model development and execution but you can create your own that fits your needs.  The new layout has been designed to improve model development for our more expert modelers.  You can create your models with fewer mouse clicks and individual windows.

 

 

 

Improved Drawing Tool

Tasks, networks, groups, paths and comments can be defined quickly.  In Micro Saint, you had to click on individual tools to draw the network diagram like select, task, path, undo, etc.  Now you can either drag and drop the tasks to create your flow chart or right click on the task network window and add tasks.  The tasks expand to show you the entire task name and can be customized by changing the font type, size, and color.

 

Better Debugging

Errors are reported in the Output window.  If you double-click on an error, Micro Saint Sharp will automatically open the dialog and place the cursor in the field where the error occurred.  You can also set up watches for any of the variables to see their values as the model runs.

 

Dynamic Charts

Micro Saint Sharp comes with a real time graphing capability.  You can watch data be dynamically graphed onto 20 different types of charts.  These charts can then be printed or saved as separate files for later analysis.

 

 

 

Visualization

Animator and Animator3D are optional components that add graphical animation capability to Micro Saint Sharp.  You can use any of these types of images: bmp, gif, jpg, png, tif and ico.  Animator is very flexible and you can have charts, graphs, text, and images all displayed on one screen.  You can scale and rotate your images with ease.  And for a short time, we are providing you with a free clip art CD with over 20,000 images to enhance the development of your Animator animations.  Animator3D comes with its own library of 3D objects.  In addition, there are a variety of built-in Animator3D functions that may be used to manipulate the 3D objects, image text, 2D images, background, waypoints and comments.  Both Animator displays may be printed, saved to a file, or copied to the clipboard.

 

  

  

 

How to Build a Model in Micro Saint Sharp

 

To some extent the data that you will need to have in order to build your Micro Saint Sharp model will be dependent on the particular process you are modeling.  However, the following list is a guideline that you can use to help plan what data is required prior to building your model.

  1. Individual activities in the process
  2. Sequencing of activities in the process
  3. Arrival rates for entities entering the process
  4. Activity timing parameters (distribution type, mean time, standard deviation)
  5. Branching conditions (multiple – under what conditions, probabilistic – probabilities for each path, tactical – rules for each possible path)
  6. Resource requirements for each activity
  7. Other constraints
  8. Data collection input values (salaries, cost per activity, etc.)

The input data required can be obtained from analysis of existing data, videotape analysis, questionnaires, process flow charts, manpower requirements and schedules, and/or subject matter expertise. The better the data the more accurate the model will be. The data collected can then be used to determine the time distribution type (normal, gamma, poisson, lognormal, etc) and distribution parameters (mean, standard deviation) that can be input directly into the simulation model.

 

The process tasks, times, and resource requirements will become task nodes in Micro Saint Sharp.  The task network diagram is meant to represent the tasks and flow of your process.  You add tasks by clicking on the task image in the palette window and dragging it to the Task Network Diagram window.  To connect the tasks to show the proper flow, you click on the diamond at the right hand side of the task and drag it to the task you want to connect to.  Once the flow chart of your process has been laid out, the rest of the details about your model can be defined.  Double clicking on a task will open a window so you can enter data about the task.  This is the task description window.  This window allows you to specify all the information about how your task will be performed.  The resource constraints will be represented by variables and transfer/sequence rules will be represented by Micro Saint Sharp logical expressions. 

  
When the model is executed, the output data will be collected in Micro Saint Sharp results files called snapshots.   Micro Saint Sharp stores the collected snapshot data so that it can be imported into any spreadsheet or word processing application for further manipulation. 

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