Virtual assembly planning. A planning tool for tomorrows industry
The technique of VR gives the possibility for three dimensional interactions with objects. These interactions can be, for example the changing of positions and orientations of objects as well as the connection of parts. This is the ideal basis for spatial assembly planning of products. The Fraunhofer-Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) is developing a planning system which uses this feature in order to carry out assembly planning operations. The virtual assembly planning system enables the interactive assemble and disassemble of components and modules in a virtual surrounding. The first prototype of the system achieved the "BYTE - Best of Systems" award at the Systems 96 computer fair in Munich. It uses VirtualANTHROPOS - a virtual model of a human - in order to carry out assembly operations. It has an interface to a CAD system and is able to present the CAD-objects in a virtual production environment. Based on the user interactions with the virtual objects, a precedence graph i s generated and the assembly time and cost is determined. This paper reports on the benefits of Concurrent Engineering and the development of right first time methods such as Virtual Assembly Planning and Virtual Ergonomic Prototyping.