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FlexSim Terminology   

Before you start your first model it will be helpful to understand some of the basic terminology of the software.

FlexSim Objects

FlexSim objects simulate different types of resources in the simulation. An example is the Queue object, which acts as a storage or buffer area. The Queue can represent a line of people, a queue of idle processes on a CPU, a storage area on the floor of a factory, a queue of waiting calls at a customer service center, etc. Another example of a FlexSim object is the Processor object, which simulates a delay or processing time. This object can represent a machine in a factory, a bank teller servicing a customer, a mail employee sorting packages, an epoxy curing time, etc.

FlexSim objects are found in the Library Icon Grid.


Flowitems are the objects that move through your model. Flowitems can represent parts, pallets, assemblies, paper, containers, telephone calls, orders, or anything that moves through the process you are simulating. Flowitems can have processes performed on them and can be carried through the model by material handling resources. In FlexSim, flowitems are generated by a Source object. Once flowitems have passed through the model, they are sent to a Sink object.

Flowitems are managed in the Flowitem Bin.


Labels are strings or numbers that are stored on Flowitems and objects. Labels can be dynamically altered through the course of a process flow. Labels can be useful for storing information like cost, processing time and other information. Labels can be accessed through the object's quick properties or its Labels Page.

Click here to learn more about labels.


The itemtype is a special label that is placed on the flowitem that could represent a barcode number, product type, or part number. FlexSim is set up to use the itemtype as a reference in routing flowitems.

Click here to learn more about itemtypes.


Every FlexSim object has an unlimited number of ports through which they communicate with other objects. There are three types of ports: input, output, and center.

  • Input and Output Ports: These ports are used in the routing of flowitems. For example, a mail sorter places packages on one of several conveyors depending on the destination of the package. To simulate this in FlexSim, you would connect the output ports of a Processor object to the input ports of several Conveyor objects (found in the Conveyor Module), meaning once the Processor (or mail sorter) has finished processing the flowitem (or package), it sends it to a specific conveyor through one of its output ports.
  • Center Ports: These ports are used to create references from one object to another. A common use for central ports is for referencing TaskExecuter objects such as Operators , Fork Lifts , and Cranes from FixedResources such as Processors or Queues.

Click here to learn more about ports.

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paul.t contributed to this article


FlexSim 2016.1