Unit of competency details

MEM234008 - Design plant using computer simulations (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to MEM234008A - Design plant using computer simulations 18/Dec/2022

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 19/Dec/2022


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 030703 Industrial Engineering  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 030703 Industrial Engineering  19/Dec/2022 
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Unit of competency

Modification History

Release 1. Supersedes and is equivalent to MEM234008A Design plant using computer simulations.


This unit of competency defines the skills and knowledge required to use computer simulations to develop engineering solutions for the design of plant, equipment and manufacturing processes. This includes mathematical models and computer simulation models, sensitivity estimation and optimisation to ensure reliability, validity and robustness of simulations.

The client may be internal or external to the designer’s organisation.

It is suitable for plant and process designers and maintenance personnel across all forms of manufacturing and engineering, and for those pursuing engineering or related qualifications and careers.

Individuals completing this work either already have or are developing skills and experience in the evaluation of plant and processes, application of scientific principles, analysis of loads on machine elements, selection of components and materials, use of manufacturing processes and computer-aided design (CAD), and use of mathematics, including calculus and differential equations.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit


Competency Field

Engineering science

Elements and Performance Criteria


Performance Criteria 

Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Clarify the simulation task and elaborate the specification

1.1 Establish required features of the computer simulations in consultation with client

1.2 Determine parameters of the brief or contract

1.3 Determine stakeholders to be consulted in design process

1.4 Assess work health and safety (WHS), regulatory, sustainability or environmental issues relevant to design task

1.5 Confirm design brief, including budget and schedule, and provide preliminary advice on feasibility

2. Research and test computer simulation options

2.1 Analyse computer simulations software for reliability, validity and robustness

2.2 Assess process simulation software for applications in commercial plant and processes

2.3 Test computer simulation software with known solutions

2.4 Select the most appropriate simulation option for the application

3. Prepare concept proposal

3.1 Prepare computer simulation design

3.2 Complete required modelling, optimisation and sensitivity analysis

3.3 Generate design solutions in response to brief

3.4 Check feasibility and evaluate solutions against design criteria, standards and codes, ensuring conformity to WHS requirements

3.5 Prepare a proposal that includes results of feasibility study, consideration of expert opinion, initial calculations, modelling and the use of judgment and discretion

3.6 Review concept proposal with client to improve outcomes and overcome possible problems

3.7 Negotiate adjustments to brief or contract parameters if required

4. Design plant, equipment or manufacturing process

4.1 Design plant, equipment or process using chosen simulation methods

4.2 Optimise simulation and analyse sensitivity

4.3 Provide documentation, graphics, specifications and instructions

4.4 Consult with client and stakeholders to obtain sign-off on design simulation

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential to performance.

Foundation skills essential to performance are explicit in the performance criteria of this unit of competency.

Range of Conditions

This field allows for different work environments and conditions that may affect performance. Essential operating conditions that may be present (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) are included.

Computer simulations include:

  • process simulations
  • performance analysis and optimisation
  • fault simulations
  • machine simulations, stress, deflection and heating
  • environmental modelling
  • mathematical design modelling
  • hydraulic system modelling
  • virtual engineering.

Parameters of the design brief include:

  • design of new equipment or fault analysis, rectification or modification to an existing design
  • determination of the degree of innovation and creativity expected by the client
  • design process limits and budgets
  • product cost limits and budgets
  • performance specifications
  • equipment availability, capacities and restrictions
  • specified administrative, communication and approval procedures
  • other special features and limits in the design brief.

WHS, regulatory, sustainability and environmental issues include:

  • WHS acts, regulations and relevant standards
  • industry codes of practice
  • risk assessments
  • registration requirements
  • safe work practices
  • conforming to all industry covenants, protocols and best practice guides
  • minimising ecological and environmental footprint of process, plant and product
  • maximising economic benefit of process plant and product to the organisation and the community
  • minimising the negative WHS impact on employees, community and customer
  • state and territory regulatory requirements.

Sensitivity estimation, optimisation and validation includes:

  • software employed for estimation, optimisation and validation
  • sensitivity as a measure of impacts of changes to parameter values and assumptions on the output or conclusions from the model
  • sensitivity analysis that can be used as a measure of robustness and validity
  • optimisation as the adjustment of variables and parameters to fine-tune the output to closer match expected system outputs
  • validation techniques:
  • comparison of traditional solutions for simple design problems with software solutions to the same design problems
  • review of previously implemented design challenges which were completed using the software
  • robustness relates to the ability of a simulation model to respond to inputs in a stable manner.

Unit Mapping Information

Release 1. Supersedes and is equivalent to MEM234008A Design plant using computer simulations.


Companion Volume Implementation Guides are available on VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b7050d37-5fd0-4740-8f7d-3b7a49c10bb2


Assessment requirements

Modification History

Release 1. Supersedes and is equivalent to MEM234008A Design plant using computer simulations.

Performance Evidence

Evidence required to demonstrate competence in this unit must be relevant to and satisfy the requirements of the elements and performance criteria and include:

  • interpreting design parameters, performance targets and system variables of plant, equipment or process to be simulated
  • advising client based on discipline knowledge, work health and safety (WHS) and regulatory standards
  • determining work health and safety (WHS), regulatory and risk management requirements related to plant
  • investigating and measuring to confirm the parameters for required design
  • investigating faults in existing designs and proposing solutions on at least two occasions
  • selecting appropriate simulation model
  • modelling, optimising and analysing model sensitivity on at least two occasions
  • generating and evaluating solutions using appropriate innovation and creativity for feasibility against design criteria
  • designing simulated plant
  • communicating, negotiating and reviewing with stakeholders and client throughout the process to obtain agreement on proposal and sign-off on simulated design
  • documenting design with files, drawings, specifications and instructions.

Note: Where a volume and/or frequency is not specified, demonstration must be provided at least once. 

Knowledge Evidence

Evidence required to demonstrate the required knowledge for this unit must be relevant to and satisfy the requirements of the elements and performance criteria and include knowledge of:

  • design, research and investigation methods
  • techniques for:
  • continuous improvement
  • problem-solving and decision-making
  • root cause analysis (RCA) or failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) or design review based on failure mode (DRBFM), and Pareto analysis
  • computer simulation packages
  • advantages of design simulation including development time, low cost and minimum resources
  • disadvantages of design simulations including level of uncertainty, and cost of making decisions based on invalid simulations
  • WHS and regulatory requirements, codes of practice, standards and registration requirements
  • simulation applications including:
  • physical simulation using physical objects as analogues of another reality
  • interactive simulation or ‘human in the loop’ simulations
  • computer architecture simulation
  • training simulation
  • business performance
  • plant or process design
  • mathematical models including:
  • linear and non-linear
  • deterministic and stochastic
  • steady-state and dynamic
  • lumped and distributed parameter models
  • computer simulation types including:
  • continuous and discrete
  • deterministic and stochastic
  • local or distributed simulations
  • object-oriented physical modelling (OOPM) simulation
  • model variable types including:
  • state variables, constants and random variables
  • inputs, outputs and decisions variables
  • sensitivity estimation and optimisation
  • graphical techniques for visual model building.

Assessment Conditions

  • Assessors must:
  • have vocational competency in designing plant using computer simulations at least to the level being assessed with relevant industry knowledge and experience
  • satisfy the assessor requirements in the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 or its replacement and comply with the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, its replacement or equivalent legislation covering VET regulation in a non-referring state/territory as the case requires.
  • Where possible assessment must occur in operational workplace situations. Where this is not possible or where personal safety or environmental damage are limiting factors, assessment must occur in a sufficiently rigorous simulated environment that reflects realistic operational workplace conditions that cover all aspects of workplace performance, including environment, task skills, task management skills, contingency management skills and job role environment skills.
  • Conditions for assessment must include access to all tools, equipment, materials and documentation required including relevant workplace procedures, product and manufacturing specifications.
  • Assessment processes and techniques must be appropriate to the language, literacy and numeracy requirements of the work being performed and the needs of the candidate.


Companion Volume Implementation Guides are available on VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=b7050d37-5fd0-4740-8f7d-3b7a49c10bb2