Analysis of Earthmoving Operation Using Discrete-Event Simulation

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Addis Ababa University


Earthmoving operations are a sizable and heavy portion of most civil construction projects. It includes cyclic work, expensive fleet, and a large volume of works. Earthmoving operations are difficult to plan and operate because of their operation complexity, uncertainty in the operation process, and environment. Due to this fact, and as the earthmoving operation process is cyclic, i.e., the events (activities) occur in a discretized manner. Therefore, Discrete-Event Simulation (DES) is found to be the most effective approach to analyze and model their improvement strategies for their operational performance. The main objective of this thesis is thus to analyze the current earthmoving operation practice, develop the DES model, and develop improvement strategies for the earthmoving operation production system. In this thesis, 421 field data instances were collected through observation from the sample road construction project. Out of this, 345 of the data instances were collected from the earthmoving operation process of selected materials. Simphony CYCLONE simulation software was used as a simulation tool. A detailed earthmoving operation simulation model with various adaptation (or scenarios) based on the types of loading equipment (loader and Excavator) and types of material (selected and crushed unbounded) is developed. The simulation experimentation and sensitivity analysis were performed to optimize production rates and resources' utilization levels of the earthmoving operation processes. Accordingly, in the case of selected material operation, assigning ten trucks, single dozer (stockpiling), Excavator, and dozer (spreading) is more effective in production rate and resource utilization. Besides, there is no significant difference in production rate and utilization of the resource between the overall and excluding the embankment work of retaining wall and box culverts of selected material. Additionally, in crushed unbounded material operation, assigning 27 trucks, two loaders, and a single grader is more effective.



Earthmoving, Simulation, Discrete-Event Simulation, Simphony-CYCLONE