Simulation on human tasks has become increasingly important in manufacturing systems' design, assessment and improvement. In order to evaluate working processes and human factors in autonomous production cells (APCs), a collective analyzis of human-centred simulation approaches in advanced manufacturing systems is carried out, and a human task-oriented simulation methodology is proposed in this paper. Based on the methodology, a comparative simulation study is carried out in a 3D laser welding production cell from the aspects of human task spectrum, human error and occupational requirements. Human task network models of both conventional working process and APC working process are constructed using timed coloured Petri Nets. The evaluation criteria architecture for the simulation is formulated and the respective algorithms and parameters for the criteria are discussed in detail. A simulation program using C++ is developed based on Poses++ Petri Net simulator. The simulation results show some important transitions of system performance and human factors from the conventional production cell to the APC, which can support the decision-making when redesigning the conventional production cells to fit the requirements of APCs.