Nobody wants to find out at the eleventh hour that a design & engineering decision they made for a new heavy industrial machine was the wrong one. Worse yet, that one decision creates a cascading effect of human centric concerns that risk safe productivity during the assembly, operator use, or maintenance of the final product. Unfortunately, scenarios like this happen all too often – a seemingly minor decision made early in the design process is later discovered to wreak havoc on the operability, assemblability, and serviceability of a new heavy machine.
In this blog, we will begin to recognize why this happens and identify how to address these human centric product and process validation issues early on.
The digitalization of most heavy machinery & equipment engineering organizations’ product design & engineering is well accepted, practiced, and trusted – especially for those attributes which have quantifiable standards and objective limits. A decision to include a more durable hydraulic actuator, more cost-effective motor, or alternate seat in a design may be well supported with simulation or analytical data, but have we considered if that decision changes how operators will assemble that product, use the product, or service & maintain those components in the field? When it comes to considering the impact of engineering decisions on human operators, until people can walk around, climb on, sit in, and assemble-disassemble-reassemble the actual product, we often can’t predict what is acceptable or not.
When planning the operation, assembly, and maintenance of a first-of-its-kind product or implementing new methods, we typically can’t know what it is that we don’t know about that product – what challenges operators will face when interacting with products they have yet to experience. For this reason, assembly process planning has long relied on pre-production prototyping and assembly piloting to allow workers to experience and evaluate proposed assembly processes and tooling. Similarly, service and maintenance planning is most often based on previous product history or require service teardown workshops conducted on the pre-production prototypes. However, no one has the luxury anymore to wait until the real products are produced if they wish to be competitive.
In Part 2 of our Heavy Machinery Webinar Series, we put into simple terms how Virtual Reality can be applied to achieve cost, lead time, and downtime reduction targets for your new product launches using immersive technologies and specifics on how it can help you:
Join us to see how leading enterprises conduct product integration, assembly process, and service method validations in Virtual Reality.
Learn more, and see the value of our VR in action by replaying our webinar series on Human Centric Process Validation & Immersive Product Integration.