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Production simulation in virtual worlds

: Seitz, Stefan; Hermann, Marco; Wimpff, Daniel-Percy

Sihn, W.; Kuhlang, P.; Westkämper, E. ; International Institution for Production Engineering Research -CIRP-, Paris; Fraunhofer Austria Research GmbH, Wien; TU Wien, Institute of Management Science, Division Production Engineering and System Planning:
Sustainable production and logistics in global networks : 43rd CIRP International Conference on Manufactoring Systems. 26 - 28th May 2010, Vienna, Proceedings
Wien: Neuer Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 2010
ISBN: 978-3-7083-0686-5
International Conference on Manufacturing Systems (ICMS) <43, 2010, Wien>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IPA ()
3D-simulation; factory second life; second life; Virtual Company; virtual reality; virtual world; Virtuelle Fertigung; Virtuelle Produktion; Simulation; Fertigung; Industrieanlage; Produktentwicklung

Production simulation offers significant benefits when optimizing manufacturing processes. As part of the so-called Digital Factory it allows decisions to be evaluated before they are implemented. The associated tools, however, require highly specialized knowledge and are quite expensive.
The technologies developed by the game industry, such as 3D internet platforms, are easy to use and free. Actually being designed for social backgrounds with a focus on communication and visualization, the powerful engines of these platforms might be adapted to very demanding requirements.
To highlight the opportunities and drawbacks of this technology, Fraunhofer IPA has created a production scenario based on the virtual world "Second Life" with two main goals: Firstly, the intention is to give the general public an understanding of production in a factory as an innovative environment and , secondly, it aims to lay the foundations for the simulation of production and logistic issues.
An entirely visualized and simulated factory enables interaction across all process levels. The developed framework and scripts are generic so that all components can be reused for representing any desired scenario.
Easily accessible and free-to-use virtual worlds might represent an important step towards a more widespread use of digital tools in enterprises.