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Virtual Manufacturing Goes Global

The goal of Ford’s virtual manufacturing tools is to drive compatibility between the product design and
the assembly plant process. As Ford increases its presence in Asia, Africa and other markets, a digital
employee undergoes ergonomic assessments that use Hollywood animation technology to get a head start
on virtual assembly lines, reducing the physical stress of jobs and improving vehicle quality.

Motion-capture technology
Global employees

The manikin’s dimensions now


reflect the size and shape of
Ford’s global worker population.
Ford of Europe and Ford North
America obtained population
data from their operators in
six assembly plants around the
world – Mexico, Spain, China,
Germany, England and the U.S.
Ford pairs advanced motion-capture technology – commonly used in animated movies and digital The new avatar has dimensions
games – with human modeling software to design jobs that are less physically stressful on workers. that are standardized to give
The benefits include fewer injuries, lower cost of tooling changes, higher quality and faster time to engineering and design teams
market, and Ford is seeing improvement in every one of those metrics. clear direction and keep quality
During the process, the subject’s size and movements are captured and loaded into a computer high.
program, then redrawn as digital employee avatars. A new multinational avatar is based on Ford’s
North American virtual workers, Jack and Jill, and now reflects the sizes and shapes of workers at Customizing Jack
assembly plants across the globe. and Jill
Rising quality The
standardized
With this technology, Ford’s manikin
digital employees are helping the also can be
company to predict the ergonomic customized
effects of long-term repetitive to the
motions. The impact on health regional Ford
and safety metrics, as well as on population
quality, has been tremendous. that is
building
a specific
vehicle.

Meet Santos
Jack and Jill will soon be joined by Santos, a computerized avatar
now in the testing phase at Ford. Santos was created for the U.S.
Department of Defense as part of the Virtual Soldier Research
program at the University of Iowa; the military employs Santos
to find ways to ease the physical strain on soldiers. Santos builds
on the use of Jack and Jill by allowing Ford to understand the true
strain on the body when performing actions on the job.

5/2011 for more information, go to media.ford.com