Integrating Virtual Reality for Virtual Prototyping

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Extended Abstract
In order to stay competitive, companies must deliver new products with higher quality in a shorter time. Business process re-engineering is becoming a main focus in today's efforts to overcome problems and deficits in the automotive and aerospace industries (e.g., integration in international markets, product complexity, increasing number of product variants, reduction in product development time and cost).

There is some evidence indicating that the assembly process often drives the majority of the cost of a product, and that up to 70% of the total life cycle costs of a product are committed by decisions made in the early stages of the design process. The use of virtual reality for virtual prototyping is still in its infancy.

In this paper, we investigate the steps needed to apply virtual reality (VR) for virtual prototyping (VP) to verify assembly and maintenance processes. The final goal of assembly/disassembly verification is the assertion that a part or component can be assembled by a human worker, and that it can be disassembled later-on for service and maintenance. Other questions need to be adressed, too: is it "difficult" to assemble/disassemble a part? How long does it take? How stressful is it in terms of ergonomics? Is there enough room for tools?

After a review of today's business process in vehicle prototyping, we discuss CAD-VR data integration and identify new requirements for design data quality. We present several new interaction paradigms so that engineers, designers and skilled mechanical workers can experiment naturally with the virtual prototype. Finally, some results of a user survey performed at BMW are presented, showing the acceptance and potential of VP and the paradigms implemented for this key process.

The results show that VR will play an important role for VP in the near future.

Virtual environments, virtual prototyping, digital mock-ups, assembly and maintenance process, assembly verification, user acceptance, direct manipulation.
BibTeX entry
,  key = "Zachmann"
,  author = "Antonino {Gomes de S{\'a}} and Gabriel Zachmann"
,  title = "Integrating Virtual Reality for Virtual Prototyping"
,  booktitle = "Proc. of the 1998 ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences"
,  year = 1998
,  month = sep
,  address = "Atlanta, Georgia"
,  note = "paper no. DETC98/CIE-5536"
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Gabriel Zachmann
Last modified: Sat Sep 10 15:52:47 MDT 2005