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History of the Fabric Simulator – SIMFLEX

 The roots of  SIMFLEX are found in the topics of  the  1960-ieth

  • activities with philosophical and epistemological basics.
  • advancing development of Computer engineering 
  • research tasks of mechanical engineering at the Institute for technical automation (IPA) under the guidance of Prof. Dr.-Ing.  W. Simon at TU-Berlin.

osm67 osm88

OSM-Relation 1967 (G.Klaus)                                     OSM-Relation 1988 (A.Reinhardt)

The leaders in this area of simulation were Geoffrey Gordon (GPSS), Pritsker/Kiviat (GASP, SIMSCRIPT) in USA  and Birtwistle/Dahl/Myhrhaug/ Nygaard (SIMULA) in Norway. In Germany the concept of Simulation was spread among the society for the purpose of Operation Research through the seminars from Professor Schneeweiss.

At the IPA in Berlin, Reinhard and Kamp developed a simulation tool for planning and control of flexible Production Systems. The first models were implemented in FORTRAN and GASP respectively and the software package were implemented in FORTRAN. Simulation and real time control were already seen as a unit and was converted into prototypic applications for  laboratories.  DFG promoted the work as Special Research 57, “Production techniques and Automation”.


Network Grafic PDP15 and SIMFLEX Kernel on  PDP10 (Digital Equipment, USA)

SIMFLEX is probably the first graphic-interactive factory simulator available for the public. SIMFLEX is implemented as object oriented in SIMULA. The  assigned Computer,  PDP10, had a value of around 1,5 millions DM.
The animation is implemented in FORTRAN on PDP15. The 2 computers were coupled by serial interface. Animation seems to be unnecessary for Science and Technology but it is the best for „Management“. The term „Mäusekino“ ( Mouse Cinema) is coined.

Production System is one of the fields in the Department  of Mechanical Engineering, University of kassel.  In colloboration with PSI, Berlin, the factory Simulator was implemented in PASCAL on the computer of Norsk Data and VAX.
It was released as SIMFLEX/2 in Hannover exhibition in 1982.


Screen shot of SIMFLEX/2 factory Simulator (Flexible Production System)

A real time interface for SIMFLEX/2 to control electromechanical model plants of the enterprise came into operation. This was used as secondary control for computer networks in 1987

SIMFLEX/2 and CAD (AutoCad/MicroStation) were integrated. The Model draft is done in CAD. The layout of the client is taken over the DXF interface.

SIMFLEX/2 is used as a control station in Volkswagen AG, Central Training Center. More than 6 Siemens-SPS plants were controlled. The development of a user langauge for designing logical process is sealed off. This represents the rapid development in the flexibilty of simulation studies.

The re-implementation was started in C++. The screen, conversation window and graphics were built on Tcl/Tk and it becomes platform independent.

The first prototype of SIMFLEX/3 is presented. Special features are:

  • Object-Oriented as in  1977
  • CAD Interface
  • C++ User Interface for logistics
  • BDE interface for usual analysis programs
  • Real time interface for electromechanical plants
  • On-line animation, alternatively in 2D or 3D
  • Executable under LINUX and Windows

Screenshot of  SIMFLEX/3D (Presswerk)


Screenshot Demon in 3D


Simflex/3D and the HLA Concept

The HLA interface is implemented. SIMFLEX/3D can be coupled with one another and with other simulators. Thus SIMFLEX/3D can be used in a distributed simulation environment.


ASIM Award 2006 (SNE 17/1)

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