Let’s take a quick look at the features and improvements you’ll discover in FlexSim 2021 Update 2.

We’re really excited about the GIS module, a powerful tool for modeling supply chains, inter-logistics, and any other transportation uses where travel time and distance are a factor. It’s also included free with every edition of FlexSim. Check out the link in the description below to learn more about this new feature. The GIS module also brings some new Task Executer shapes that any FlexSim user can enjoy—just click on Task Executer in the 3D Library to see your options.

FlexSim’s new Template system will be a big time saver for models that manage many similar objects. Objects can now become templates for many other objects, and each of the instances of this template will then inherit properties from it. Change the template—change the instance. This system is great for conveyors. You can use it to customize a conveyor segment and make this the template for an entire conveyor type. It’s flexible, too—for example, all conveyor segments can inherit the same speed value, but different conveyor segments might inherit their width from other templates.

Arrows for moving, rotating, and scaling objects in the 3D view have been redesigned for easier use and controls. If you click and drag anywhere in the grey, translucent sphere, you’ll drag the object on the X and Y axes in the 3D view. Click and drag the blue hemisphere line around the sphere to rotate the object on the Z axis, with snapping every 45 degrees. The red, green, and blue manipulation handles inside the sphere control the X, Y, and Z axes—click and drag the arrow to move the object only along that specific axis and use the cube-shaped icons to adjust the size along that axis. There are also a few new features we think you’ll enjoy. Click and drag the orange manipulation handle to scale the object up or down in size while maintaining its proportions. And the white arrow and square just outside the sphere are for quickly making connections—the arrow is for regular “A” connections, and the square is for center port or “S” connections.

The AGV Network Properties now includes a Route Cost option, located in the General tab. If you check the box to Divide By Speed, FlexSim will find the fastest route instead of the shortest route for your AGVs. This calculation is done for each AGV, since they can have different speed profiles. You can also use the option for Multiply By Custom Path Cost, which will allow you to define a custom path-based multiplier to the cost. There is also a new tab in the AGV Network Properties named “Conditional Rules,” where you can specify rules for when to close paths and then apply those rules to certain paths.

A* has received several improvements in this release. A* grids now have node spacing options for both the X and Y axes, so you can have oblong node sizes. Barriers and dividers can both be added to Properties Tables, and they can also be used in the new Template system we showed earlier. Barriers and dividers can even be put inside conveyors, which also works with Templates. This should add a lot of flexibility and power as you build your A* systems.

You also can dynamically add and remove barriers in an A* grid. An example of where this could be useful is in grid based AGV/AMR systems, where an vehicle that is empty can travel anywhere, but once it’s loaded with an item it must travel in the through lanes.

FlexSim 2021 Update 2 has a better way to manage object states. State Tables can be created in the Toolbox or added directly through a state chart, and they add some convenient features such as auto-generating a state profile from a sampled object and also allowing you to quickly change a state’s display name.

One final thing. Sometimes, you might not want to see the forks on your forklift moving while it travels. There’s a checkbox in the Transporter tab of the Transporter—or forklift—object to control this. If the box “Allow Fork Movement During Travel” is unchecked, the forks will not raise and lower while the vehicle is in motion.

Thanks for watching. There are other improvements and additions in FlexSim 2021 Update 2 that might interest you—check out the documentation for more details.