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How does the 'interactive' aspect of VR simulation speed up the design process?


Un homme plongé en immersion totale dans une simulation industrielle en réalité virtuelle

Whether it's the production of manufactured goods, pharmaceutical products or electronic devices, effective optimisation of the design process is essential to remain competitive in the marketplace.


Faced with this challenge, more and more manufacturers are relying on virtual reality as a real working tool.

In this article, find out how this technology can help to reduce costs, increase productivity and improve efficiency within an industry.



Plastic Omnium: Virtual reality drastically cuts prototyping times


Using virtual reality simulation software, Plastic Omnium engineers are now able to prototype their product in 2 weeks instead of 6.


How?




The latter carry out dozens of 'virtual' iterations before releasing the final prototype, rather than dozens of physical prototypes for as many iterations.


In pratique…


Plastic Omnium carries out physico-realistic virtual reality insertion tests on a range of fuel nozzles and fuel tanks. A report is then produced based on the results of each test.


Thanks to the physics engine integrated into the INTERACT virtual simulation software, the detection of collisions between fuel pumps and tanks is accurate to within 60 microns. They can afford to make virtually infinite errors before delivering a final prototype.



The Haulotte case: The adoption of virtual reality in design process for a faithful representation of their aerial work platform models


Haulotte, a company specialising in personnel lifting equipment, has been using virtual reality to optimise its design review for several years now.



Why did you decide to go for VR ?


The main constraint encountered by industrial groups in reviewing traditional design is the limit of perception: 3D models and physical mock-ups do not always allow for a precise perception of the size, comfort and space of objects.


Virtual reality, on the other hand, offers a major advantage: the ability to view the digital twin at 1:1 scale.


Nacelle élévatrice en réalité virtuelle visualisée à l'échelle 1:1


1:1 visualisation: an essential feature for these large machines.


In virtual reality, Haulotte can benefit from a faithful representation of their aerial work platforms in terms of scale. This approach gives them a better understanding of the dimensions, proportions and ergonomics of the machines.


Thanks to virtual reality, Haulotte is able to validate the industrial tooling (its adaptability to new models of aerial work platforms), facilitate multi-trade reviews and involve teams that are sometimes too far removed from the final prototype, such as purchasing, for example. All the players in the various departments can visualise the machine and get to grips with its use, thereby promoting better understanding and collaboration.



The Renault Group: Virtualisation for better assembly


Renault is using virtual reality in two key situations:

  • To optimise their future or existing assembly areas, also known as "kitting" areas.

  • To improve the assembly process of the product itself.


1. Assembly areas :


Renault uses the XR Kitting solution, 3D design and simulation software, to anticipate and optimise the layout of picking and kitting areas, thereby reducing costs and improving the productivity of their factories.

As a result, integrating this software into their production process has enabled them to make significant savings of several thousand euros per assembly zone.


Graph showing Renault's savings from using VR solution - XR Kitting LS GROUP
Graph showing Renault's savings from using VR

As a result, integrating this software into their production process has enabled them to make significant savings of several thousand euros per assembly zone.






2. Product assembly process :


During the assembly phase of a prototype, it is common to encounter compatibility problems between different parts. For example, a battery that doesn't fit into the structure of an electric vehicle because the dimensions don't match.


To anticipate this, Renault is using a key feature of the INTERACT solution: collision detection. Thanks to this detection, it becomes possible to anticipate the compatibility of a part with its location, and if necessary, to modify the pre-configured data in order to minimise errors during assembly.


The collision of complex shapes


For other vehicle manufacturers, in addition to Renault, collision detection involves simulating cables. A simple example: during the advanced assembly phase of a new vehicle, manufacturers may find that the insertion of a radio into a new model could be hampered by cables inside the bodywork. Real-time cable simulation is used to identify if cables are twisted or deformed, and therefore to ensure that they can fit between the components of a product. This means that cable routing can be planned in advance.


In this way, the use of virtual reality results in a significant reduction in errors, generating substantial cost savings during the assembly process.


To conclude


Although the examples of Plastic Omnium, Haulotte and Renault Group have highlighted the advantages of virtual reality in various fields and design phases, its accessibility and complexity of use remain challenges for many companies (high costs, lengthy stage preparations, etc.).


Could measures be taken to democratise virtual reality and facilitate its adoption?

 














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