Experience Your Product – Before You Build or Service It – Through the World of Immersive Virtual Reality
Sometimes new concepts need to be experienced to be trusted. You build something and watch as an idea or concept comes to life. But what if, once constructed, you realize that it isn’t as you imagined your product would be? That by walking around and building your project, you discover that the real product or finished assembly has inconsistencies, flaws or errors that are not evident in concepts or designs until you experienced the build. At this point, what you have built is scrap, design changes will set you back weeks, if not months, and costs will certainly rise – if redesigning this late in the game is even an option. If it’s not, going to market with a less than perfect product or flawed process might be a reality you must come to terms with.
Or, what if you could work in a virtual world where you could bring your product to life—really experience building, operating, or maintaining it – without physically constructing a single thing. In this immersive Virtual Reality, you can walk around your product in a true-to-life environment at a 1:1 scale, looking at it, reaching for needed tools, and interact with your new product concepts as you, or your customers, would in real life. In this way, any unforeseen assembly, operating, and maintenance challenges that are not acceptable can be experienced in time to identify them and fix them. Fully digital, virtual, and before decisions are “cast in stone”.
With IC.IDO this – and much more – awaits you.
Benefits of IC.IDO
- Best-in-class immersive interface- engage with your product, virtually, without barriers
- True-to-life interaction with product, assembly cells & tools, and maintenance environments
- Fast turnaround results – from data acquisition and preparation to analysis and sharing
- Real-time collaborative decision making – make decisions and evaluate corrective actions with your team regardless of your physical location
- Performance – gain access to large and complex data sets in real-time to see your complete products in interactive contexts
We apply Virtual Reality in engineering with a holistic approach, recognizing that VR has value beyond visualization for cross-functional teams at major review gates and fulfills a role for the engineer performing in-process packaging or functional reviews. Engineering the best products require more than a mere focus on deterministic simulation but also designers and engineers to integrate their products, processes, and people to ensure the highest safety, quality, cost, and delivery time performance.
Virtual Integration or Virtual engineering is the aspect of product packaging that assures that the parts and components of the complete product are merged and evaluated for how well the different objects fit together, often included as a requirement for product engineering release. Beyond just testing the assumption that the design "envelope" or "space claim" is maintained statically, integration also involves validation for collision or clash of parts during planned use and normal ranges of motion, evaluation of visibility of and accessibility to parts/components as required by service or production requirements, and the appropriateness of the human factors in design and assessment of ergonomics.
This process historically was completed as mock-ups of the product were produced and evolved as part of the product development process. However, as digital engineering practices have successfully reduced the reliance on practical mock-ups and replaced with CAE and FEA modeling, the learning and emergence of design integration issues that resulted in unplanned from the building of mock-ups have been lost.
The creation of production-intent prototypes and mock-up builds of products, would often give insight into the assembly and service of the product, inform engineers and designers of potential conflicts between the design intent and practical completion of the product, and raise physical constraint issues that may not have been envisioned during the packaging and space claim planning for the product.
Integration challenges include:
- static and dynamic space-claim of components
- cable and hose routing
- installation and removal of components or parts
- customer acceptance (bespoke or highly customized products)
- in-situ part movement, rocking, or shifting
- visibility and accessibility requirements
- design for assembly and service requirements engineering
Releasing the production-intent product data, engineering, and optimizing production process plans for a new product creates complex engineering tasks, like the sourcing of production tooling, commissioning of facilities, and workforce planning-preparation for production launch. During prior product engineering tasks, the assumption is that production requirements and service requirements may trigger product design changes. Design for Manufacturing and Design for Service, activities initiated during those early engineering integration reviews, should yield benefits in terms of the overall capability of the product to be made and supported, however now is the time to put that assumption to the test.
In the past, production pilots and prototype builds would have yielded much of the exploratory and development opportunity needed to plan for the upcoming product launch effectively. However, with the recent reliance on digital modeling instead of practical prototypes and piloting activities, there is an increased risk that production issues can go unobserved until production ramp-up. Such risk can be mitigated and removed as long as the new products can be appropriately modeled during the design and commissioning of the production tools, processes, and facilities.
Planning for effective service need not wait until practical prototypes or production products are available
Service and Warranty Engineering and Planning are emerging as more urgent tasks in the development of new products as we see the sales models for new products and technology evolve. With the cost of service being built into the ownership model of some of the most innovative new products, OEMs are recognizing that Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is no longer the sole burden of the customer, but a possible competitive advantage for their enterprise. Rightly so, during product development more attention is being placed on the servicability and maintainence of cutting edge products. Is the consumer buying the car or are they investing in personal mobility, is the utility buying a turbine or are they buying an expectation of megawatt hours of production, is the construction firm buying the excavator or are they buying the hole, or is the municipality buying a train or the mobility of their citizens?
Engineering the service operations of a new product is more than merely imagining from the CAD design data a likely order of operations, nor is it just establishing a Bill of Service from the Bill of Materials. One cannot just reverse the Bill of Process from assembly and assume that it will support planned or unplanned maintenance activities. Visibility and accessibility of a replaceable component during after-sales service is very different than when we are constructing a new product around that component. The decisions made during engineering to optimize assembly and initial build are likely different than decisions one might make to optimize maintenance and repair.
Assessing a product's serviceability without access to the complete product is an exercise in extreme imagination and creativity. An exercise that is fraught with risk for the enterprise if imaginations or creativity fall short of recognizing critical errors. Many can recount a nightmare scenario where a commonly replaced component is completely inaccessible without the removal of key components or subassemblies. The sparkplugs that require the removal of the engine, the filter that requires the disconnection of the pump, an access panel too small to allow the components to be removed.