The Use and Usage of Virtual Reality Technologies in Planning and Implementing New Workstations
Virtual reality (VR) technologies can support the planning and implementation of new workstations in various industry sectors, including in automotive assembly. Starting in the early planning stages, VR can help in identifying potential problems of new design ideas, e.g. through ergonomics analyses. Designers can then quickly change the virtual representations of new workstations to test solutions for the emerging difficulties. For this purpose, the actions and motions of prospective workers can be captured while they perform the work tasks in VR. The information can also be used as input for digital human modelling (DHM) tools, to instruct biomechanical human models. The DHM tools can then construct families of manikins that differ on anthropometric characteristics, like height, to simulate work processes. This paper addresses both existing technologies for gathering data on human actions and motions during VR usage and ways in which these data can be used to assist in designing new workstations. Here, a novel approach to translate a VR user's actions into instructions for DHM tools through an event-based instruction sampling method is presented. Further, the challenges for utilizing VR are discussed through an industrial use case of the manual assembly of flexible cables in an automotive context.