Planimate® is a simulation based development environment and is a product of InterDynamics Pty Ltd., which uses the platform in the delivery of world class planning and scheduling systems.
Planimate originated as a tool to visualise the effects of random variation on queuing and production lines.
The notion of graphically building a simulation that animates individual event transactions in flows (we now call them items) was conceived by Dr. Douglas Seeley. Riccardo Macri has been Planimate's principal developer since its inception in November 1988. In the late 80s key underlying principles were forged, which enable Planimate to automatically "look ahead" and "unblock" items as they interact in the model.
In the early 90's Planimate was known as SimView and developed under the University of South Australia's Techsearch group. With its innovative capabilities, a number of papers were published at this time.
InterDynamics Pty. Ltd. was founded in Australia in 1992 and it owns Planimate, its trademark and the intellectual property behind it. The name Planimate was chosen as it embodies the intent of the software: facilitating system planning through the use of animation.
Planimate has evolved into a comprehensive platform for creating applications that are highly visual and user friendly. For developers it retains much of its graphical programming roots while at the same time providing programmatic capabilities for complex simulation, rich user interfaces and connectivity to dotNET and C libraries for integration with data bases and business systems.
Planimate models are largely graphically programmed. A time based discrete event simulation engine manages scheduling and concurrency in the simulated system. Random variation can be incorporated to test the model's resiliance to unexpected circumstances.
Models can dynamically restructure themselves whilst in-memory. This enables modelling situations where normally fixed resources are dynamically reallocated.
Planimate enables models to be wrapped into self contained applications. These are a single EXE with minimal installation needs, containing all the model needs to run. This streamlines deployment and updating of models in a reliable manner.
Input data, scenario configurations and results that a model generates can be stored outside the model itself, in highly compressed and encrypted data set files.
A suite of GUI tools enables the visualisation of the activity and data as it is generated by the simulation model. These include icon over map displays, icons flowing over graphical decision trees, dynamically updating tables and status panels, a variety of graphs and chart types and heat maps. All these GUI elements support real time interaction with an user which can then feed back into the simulation model.
Distinction from traditional programming languages
Planimate's integration of animation, concurrency, data visualisation, workflow and time-based modelling give it an edge in the rapid creation of dynamic simulations. Traditional programming languages and spreadsheets do not natively support these concepts whereas in Planimate they are implicit and require no extra APIs or libraries to be mastered and managed.
Planimate is used as a rapid prototyping enviroment as very little coding is required to produce conceptual level animations. These can be incrementally developed to include more system detail. For example, a mine can initially be modelled as a delay with a simple distribution and later enhanced to actually represent its physical structure and its operational characteristics and limitations.
Planimate can animate both physical and logical activities. A physical activity might be the movement of a truck. A logical activity might be the business rules used to decide the next task the truck will be assigned to. This animation enhances the communication of concepts and operational practices and enhances visual verification of models.
Further detail on distinguishing capabilities can be found here.
Planimate is applied in many domains including:
- Transportation and Logistics Networks (rail, trucking, shipping)
- Service Scheduling and Rostering
- Maintenance Planning
- Competency Training Simulators
- Decision Support
- Testing & Proof Of Concept
- Analysis of Complex Behaviours
As it is easy to build simple models with Planimate, a number of universities use it to teach simulation concepts, statistics and logistics.
Availability & Demo Version
InterDynamics sells access to Planimate using a licensing arrangement detailed here.
A free time limited demo is available here. This version is intended for initial exposure only and hundreds of revisions have occured since its release, adding far superior capabilities and performance than the demo. You can peruse the copious for an insight into the platform's continuing evolution.
Educational institutions have free access to the demo version of Planimate. Please contact InterDynamics with details of your institution.
A number of support mechanisms are available to Planimate licenseholders and they are detailed here.