The contribution of VR solutions during manufacturing stage
In a product or hardware component production process, an assembly or manufacture step is mandatory to get the final product. This last step is automatically preceded by multiple tests and validation phases related to the progress of the project, such as the production of a new line of cars for instance.
The manufacturing processes in Virtual Reality can be structured around 3 user profiles
The VR collaboration and the faculty of putting team in a VR engineering project situation facilitate the realisation of validation tests for the assembly and the product manufacturing steps before the final product. All of that without limit of try, time or human and financial resources beside the delivery deadline contracted with the client.
The long process of the assembly and materialization of the final product can’t result on a viable solution without test phases and the evaluation of the quality of the components of the product.
During the step of VR manufacturing, in the industrial field for example, different roles are distributed among 3 user profiles to test the robustness, the compliance and the viability of the product according to the expectation of the client : the preparer, the operator and the user.
The role distribution in the process of VR manufacturing
In a VR manufacturing process based on a VR solution, the preparer will be in charge of the definition of the range mountings and the primary instructions for the operators, related to the final product assembly. He will have to find the optimum articulation, which is the more viable sequence allowing to gather all the pieces of a product regarding a technical reference diagram and realisation constraint time, quality etc. The preparer can consequently have to iterate until he reaches a satisfying result.
On the contrary, a VR solution will allow to test the pattern of a sequence of gestures for exemple, with a test operator. Once the sequences validated, the preparer will be able to realize his own VR 3D sequence to edit a video template and give his instructions in 3D.
All this work must then let its implementation and its application by the operator. He will be interested on the ergonomics of the sequence in terms of accessibility, in relation to the efforts to be made to achieve it, the analysis of potential musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and his own perception of movements that he will have to realize within the virtualized environment.
The operator will also have to evaluate on the basis of this sequence if he has the appropriate tooling to successfully manufacture the final product, in terms of types of tools but also in terms of dimensions and virtual environment in which he is brought to evolve.
The appreciation of the handling space of the tools and parts to be mounted will therefore be decisive in the performance of the operator’s tasks.
Finally, the operator will focus on both design issues to verify that the product is indeed mountable and the accessibility of sensitive parts of the product, to be handled carefully, to optimize the effective assembly of the final product.
Always placed in VR environment, the engineer occupying the role of the final user, located at the end of the production line will have the mission to validate the manufacturing process by multiple ergonomic tests.
The fields of applications concerning this final phase of Virtual Reality testing, will be the discovery of the created environment, the analysis of workspaces, ergonomics and accessibility. It will also manipulate the objects and equipment created and validate the overall industrial process related to the final product.
The interest here, thanks to the introduction of virtual reality in the manufacturing process, is to reduce non-recurring costs to the traditional manufacturing process of the product, to allow an acceleration of design and maintenance cycles by a simulated return of experience, but also to shorten decision loops to improve collective work and decision-making.
The introduction of VR in factories already has a very strong impact since it makes possible to bring together all the actors and partners who at a given moment in their relationship, will intervene on the spot, in this factory.
The use of VR in the production trades, especially in industry, shows a significant advance in virtual reality technologies and a vision of the industry focused more on digital tools.
The simulation of production, flow, tasks, assembly line, parameterization of the ergonomics of a workstation brought by the virtual reality technologies transform the industries into models of factories turned towards the future and digital innovation.