How Behlen is Tapping Factory Simulation Engineer to Revamp its 100-Year-old Facility

In the world of industrial products and building construction, innovation and automation play a pivotal role in driving progress and maintaining a competitive edge, even when you have been around for over 100 years as has Behlen Manufacturing. With a focus on embracing new technologies, the company is continuously exploring ways to maximize space usage and introduce new equipment within its expansive almost million-square-feet facility.

With over 900,000 square feet of space and multiple business units, optimizing plant layouts is a significant and continously challenging aspect of its operations.

Managing this vast space that encompasses multiple business units presents significant challenges. The time and effort required to optimize the layout and accommodate new equipment are substantial. It is not as simple as relocating an item, as one move often triggers additional rounds of required moves. In addition, careful consideration is needed to ensure that equipment continues to operate seamlessly during the implementation of new assets.

By using Factory Simulation Engineer, part of the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Manufacturing portfolio, they can simulate processes and make decisions before physically moving equipment, ensuring that the right decisions are made before any physical changes are implemented.

The ability to visualize and simulate processes in 3D offers a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the manufacturing setup. It allows for the visualization of changes and their impact, contributing to more effective decision-making and strategic planning.

Furthermore, the technology enables the visualization of potential risks and hazards, contributing to the formulation of comprehensive risk management strategies. This approach minimizes risks and allows the company to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of new technologies. The commitment to safety and quality is evident in the thorough planning and testing processes, which aim to eliminate potential hazards and ensure that the highest standards are upheld.

The use of technology plays a pivotal role in addressing these challenges. From SOLIDWORKS solutions to robotics, the company embraces a wide array of tools to enhance planning and implementation. The integration of 3D modeling and virtual reality simulations allows for a more comprehensive visualization of potential changes. By simulating processes and making virtual adjustments, the company gains insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of proposed alterations. This also goes a long way to calm the nerves of the staff when they undergo these facility updates and changes.

The technology not only facilitates decision-making but also minimizes potential risks and errors. The focus is on long-term strategic planning, with an emphasis on utilizing technology to create comprehensive plans that can be tested and refined before physical implementation. This approach enables the company to forecast and evaluate the impact of changes over a three, five, or ten-year period.

Behlen is constantly striving to stay ahead of its competition by adopting new technologies and innovative approaches. The company recognizes the importance of keeping up with industry advancements to maintain its competitive edge. This commitment to innovation not only allows the company to stay current but also positions it to surpass its competitors.

“I think it will be a game-changer. What if we brought this technology in and used it? And, the question really is: what if we don’t? What if we don’t bring this technology in and our competitor does?”

Jeromy Smith, Behlen Production Systems Lean Manager

The impact of not adopting new technologies can be detrimental to a company’s success. Without leveraging the benefits of technological advancements, a business may fall behind in efficiency, quality, and overall competitiveness. By integrating state-of-the-art systems and equipment, Behlen aims to mitigate potential disadvantages and remain at the forefront of the industry.

You can watch the entire video below. Learn more about Behlen’s use of Factory Simulation Engineer in this blog post:


If you are interested in learning more about how virtual factory simulation might help with your next production facility updates, download this white paper, Optimizing Factory Layouts with Virtual Factory Planning: a Guide for SMBs or click on the banner below.

Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz

Senior Marketing Communications Manager at SolidWorks
Barb Schmitz is a Senior Manager in Marketing Communications with BA in Journalism and over 30 years of experience in the CAD software industry. She started her career as a journalist covering technology and served as an editor for several leading industry publications for over 20 years. Besides being a sleuth of tech, she is a loyal dog owner, travel bum, mom, lover of hoppy IPAs, red wine, and alternative music lover living in the great city of Chicago.