Planimate® is the name of 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.
It originated as a tool to model and visualise the effects of random variation in manufacturing. It has evolved into a comprehensive platform for creating applications that are highly visual and user friendly.
The name Planimate embodies the intent of the software: facilitating system planning through the use of animation.
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 are an advantage to a developer because these constructs are not included in traditional programming languages or spreadsheets. 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 limitations.
Planimate is used in transport industries (rail, trucking, shipping, multimodal), mining, warehousing and in logistics planning, including military applications.
As it is easy to build simple models with Planimate, a number of universities use it to teach simulation concepts, statistics and logistics.
InterDynamics sells access to Planimate using a licensing arrangement detailed here. A free time limited demo is available. Educational institutions have free access to an older version of Planimate.
A number of support mechanisms are available to Planimate licenseholders and they are detailed here.