Modeling the production capacity of a continuous plant using discrete event simulation

S. C. Lau, M. Lu, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Thanks to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, discrete event simulation is preferred for construction simulation, and the issue of how to model the production capacity of a continuous plant by using discrete event simulation is addressed. A plant of continuous nature relies on a material-handling mechanism (such as conveyor or pipeline) to continuously convey material delivered in truckloads to a designated activity location at the site. In contrast with discrete resources commonly encountered and matched in construction (such as a truck, an excavator, and a crane), a buffer is the hallmark of a continuous plant (such as unloading container); and one or multiple feeder resources (trucks) can be simultaneously processed subject to the production capacity of the plant. With a concrete pump example, we discuss the potential pitfall of simplifying a continuous plant as one discrete resource entity. Then, we formalize an approximate method for representing a continuous plant with N discrete resource entities in simulation of a predominantly discrete operations system. We also describe two practical applications: (1) modeling the production capacity of a magnetic separation plant in iron mining operations; (2) modeling the passing capacity of an urban road section in microtunneling and pipe-jacking operations. In conclusion, the proposed method adds to the usefulness and flexibility of a discrete simulation methodology in modeling complicated construction systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputing in Civil Engineering - Proceedings of the 2013 ASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2013
Event2013 ASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering, IWCCE 2013 - Los Angeles, CA, United States
Duration: 23 Jun 201325 Jun 2013


Conference2013 ASCE International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering, IWCCE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering

Cite this