Simulation of pecan processing for evaluation of process alternatives
KeywordsAgriculture, Food Science and Technology.
Engineering, System Science.
AdvisorShoup, W. David
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA number of alternatives were considered to keep pecan processing economically competitive and sustainable. The industry needed a low risk evaluation technique for testing new high capital plant configurations. A simulation model was developed using the AweSimTM simulation system to form the model structure and framework. The Visual SLAMTM and Visual BASIC programming languages were used to build a network model that provided a mathematical-logical representation of the system. The model mathematically expresses all sub-processes including moisture conditioning, pasteurizing, cracking, shelling, sizing, manual and electronic sorting, resizing, resorting, and packaging. The pecan process simulation model consists of 24 RESOURCES, 353 ACTIVITIES, 48 AWAIT/QUEUE and FREE nodes, 83 BATCH and UNBATCH nodes, 79 ASSIGN nodes, 20 COLCT nodes, 39 GOON nodes, 10 other miscellaneous nodes and a graphic user interface (GUI). The model provides information on equipment utilization, delays, queues and bottlenecks for each process in the system. It also predicts total pecan cracked and total pecan packed, including details of production for each size class i.e. halves; large; medium; small; midget; fine; granule; and oil stock. The model was validated quantitatively by comparing output with actual production figures and qualitatively by plant management. Five options of process alternatives were simulated using the pecan simulation model. The first alternative (including 3 options) was a management proposed configuration for dual electronic sorting of pecan halves to reduce the shell pieces and ensure a lighter color product. Two options were found not viable as they required major capital investments and plant reconfiguration. The third option for dual sorting was found to be a viable process alternative with minor labor additions.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering