Virtual Manufacturing Systems


Manufacturing is an indispensable part of the economy and is the central activity that encompasses product, process, resources and plant. Nowadays products are more and more complex, processes are highly-sophisticated and use micro-technology and Mechatronic, the market demand (lot sizes) evolves rapidly so that we need a flexible and agile production. Moreover manufacturing enterprises may be widely distributed geographically and linked conceptually in terms of dependencies and material, information and knowledge flows.

In this complex and evolutive environment, industrialists must know about their processes before trying them in order to get it right the first time. To achieve this goal, the use of a virtual manufacturing environment will provide a computer-based environment to simulate individual manufacturing processes and the total manufacturing enterprise. Virtual Manufacturing systems enable early optimization of cost, quality and time drivers, achieve integrated product, process and resource design and finally achieve early consideration of producibility and affordability.

Virtual manufacturing (VM) is a kind of knowledge and computer-based system technology that integrates manufacturing activities dealing with models and simulations instead of objects and their operations in the real world. This provides a digital tool for the optimisation of the production efficiency through simulations prior to the start of actual production. The concept, significance and related key techniques of VM have been addressed by Lawerence Associate [3], while the contribution and achievements of VM have been reviewed by Shukla et al. [4].

A typical VM system consists of a manufacturing resource model, a manufacturing environment model, a product model and a virtual prototyping model [5]. There is a lot of active research in both conceptual and constructive VM systems. Onosato and Iwata [1] developed the concept of a VM system and Kimura [7] described the product and process model of a VM system. Based on the concept and the model, Iwata et al. [2] proposed a general modelling and simulation architecture for a VM system. Recently, Gausemeier et al. developed a Cyberbike VM system for real time simulation of an enterprise that produces bicycles. Using the VM system, various Page 1

Virtual Manufacturing Systems
manufacturing processes can be integrated and realised into one system. The manufacturing cost and time-to-market can be reduced and hence there is improved productivity.

As, since 10 years, several projects and workshops have dealt with the Virtual Manufacturing thematic, we will first define the objectives and the scope of VM and the domains that are concerned. The expected technological benefits of VM will also been presented. We will also present the socio-economic aspects of VM. This study will take into account the market penetration of several tools with respect to their maturity, the difference in term of effort and level of detail between industrial tools and academic research. Finally the expected economic benefits of VM will be presented.

The concept, classification and benefits of VM are presented and discussed in detail. The associated technologies, their key techniques and current research work related to materials processing are highlighted. In addition, the social and technological obstacles in the development of a VM system and some practical application examples of VM on materials processing are also discussed.

We will also describe the trends and exploitable results in machine tool industry (research and development towards the 'Virtual Machine Tool'), automotive (Digital Product Creation Process to design the product and the manufacturing process) and aerospace.

2.1 Virtual manufacturing definitions

The term Virtual Manufacturing is now widespread in literature but several definitions are attached to these words. First we have to define the objects that are studied. Virtual manufacturing concepts originate from machining operations and evolve in this manufacturing area. However one can now find a lot of applications in different fields such as casting, forging, sheet metalworking and robotics (mechanisms). The general idea one can find behind most Page 2

activities and processes. – Enhance: increase the value. Fig 1. accuracy. The most comprehensive definition has been proposed by the Institute for Systems Research. 6] is “an integrated. 1). Some researchers present VM with respect to virtual reality (VR).Virtual Manufacturing Systems definitions is that “Virtual Manufacturing is nothing but manufacturing in the computer”. synthetic manufacturing environment exercised to enhance all levels of decision and control” (Fig. Page 3 . – Exercising: constructing and executing specific manufacturing simulations using the environment which can be composed of real and simulated objects. On one hand. University of Maryland. Virtual Manufacturing [5] – Environment: supports the construction. validity. methodologies and organizational principles. one can consider virtual reality as a tool which offers visualization for VM [4] . on the other hand. models. This short definition comprises two important notions: the process (manufacturing) and the environment (computer). and discussed in [5. in [3] VM is represented as a virtual world for manufacturing. 2] VM is defined as “manufacture of virtual products defined as an aggregation of computer-based information that provide a representation of the properties and behaviours of an actualized product”. In [1. equipment. provides tools.

flexibility. From this point of view VM is the production based converse of Integrated Product Process Development (IPPD) which optimizes manufacturing processes and adds analytical production simulation to other integration and analysis technologies to allow high confidence validation of new processes and paradigms.) or the use of simulations of processes to evaluate many production scenarios at many levels of fidelity and scope to inform design and production decisions. from factory equipment to the enterprise and beyond. experimental depiction of production processes and equipment using digital models. A similar definition has been proposed: “Virtual Manufacturing is a system. timing and quality constraints in the context of the plant in a collaborative environment. activities. Three paradigms are proposed in [5]: a) Design-centered VM: provides manufacturing information to the designer during the design phase. c) Control-centered VM: is the addition of simulations to control models and actual processes allowing for seamless simulation for optimization during the actual production cycle. In this case VM is the use of manufacturing-based simulations to optimize the design of product and processes for a specific manufacturing goal (DFA. quality. robots and manufacturing system and virtual reality applications in manufacturing.2 The scope of Virtual Manufacturing The scope of VM can be to define the product. investment. processes and resources within cost. Page 4 . (ii) process and production planning. (iii) machine tools. 2. and principles evolve in a computerbased environment to enhance one or more attributes of the manufacturing process. fast evaluation of many processing alternatives. from material transformation to knowledge transformation. identify alternatives). Areas that are concerned are (i) product and process design. organize. processes.Virtual Manufacturing Systems – Levels: from product concept to disposal. b) Production-centered VM: uses the simulation capability to modelize manufacturing processes with the purpose of allowing inexpensive. weight. – Decision: understand the impact of change (visualize. in which the abstract prototypes of manufacturing objects.” One can also define VM focusing on available methods and tools that allow a continuous.

the scope is viewed in two directions: horizontal scope along the manufacturing cycle. cost. agility.). production. 2 which has been proposed by IWB.) and/or processes attributes (quality. A VM System includes only the part of the activities which leads to a change of the product attributes (geometrical or physical characteristics. If the scope takes into account all these activities. Fig 2: Virtual Manufacturing objectives. Within the manufacturing cycle. The activities in manufacturing include design. quality assurance. design and production phases. management. material selection. planning. We choose to define the objectives. which involves two phases. Then. the design includes the part and process design and. marketing. Munich. we can consider this system as a Virtual Production System. and a vertical scope across the enterprise hierarchy. scopes and domains [7] Page 5 . mechanical properties. scope and the domains concerned by the Virtual Manufacturing thanks to the 3D matrix represented in Fig. the production phase includes part production and assembly.Virtual Manufacturing Systems Another vision is proposed by Marinov in [7].

NC program validation. which include the behaviour and properties of material. Since a VM model is established based on real manufacturing facilities and processes. but also allows for the evaluation and the validation of them. the macroscopic level (factory level) is derived from all relevant subsystems. 2. Some typical applications of VM are as follows: 1. checking for the collision problems in Page 6 . VM has to deal with unit operations. Apart from these. VM can be used to reliably predict the business risks and this will support the management in decision making and strategic management of an enterprise. The modelling and simulation technologies in VM enhance the production flexibility and reduce the ``Fixed costs'' since no physical conversion of materials to products is involved. the models of machine tool – cutting tool – workpiecefixture system. Finally. evaluating and validating the feasibility of the production and process plans. These models are then encapsulated to become VM cells inheriting the characteristics of the lower level plus some extra characteristics from new objects such as a virtual robot. validation of a production plan. VM can be used to test and validate the accuracy of the product and process designs. For example. The horizontal planes represent the different levels within the factory. checking for the tool path during machining process. 2. the outlook of a product design.Virtual Manufacturing Systems The vertical planes represent the three main aspects of manufacturing today: Logistics. At the lowest level (microscopic level). VM can be used in the evaluation of the feasibility of a product design. Applications of VM The attractive applications of VM include: analysis of the manufacturability of a part and a product. it does not only provide realistic information about the product and its manufacturing processes. Many iterations can be carried out to arrive at an optimal solution.2. and optimisation of the product design and processes. dynamic characteristics analysis. which cover all aspects directly related to the manufacturing of industrial goods. The last axis deals with the methods we can use to achieve VM systems. optimisation of the production process and the performance of the manufacturing system. These reduce the cost in product life cycle. Productions and Assembly.

An RIS involves the activities of information processing and decision making. etc. This can help to upgrade the level of intelligence of a manufacturing system.2. product features tooling. A computer system that simulates the responses of the RPS is called a ``virtual-physical system' (VPS). Classification based on types of product and process design According to the product design and process design functions. 4. As a knowledge acquisition vehicle. parts and machines. the operational status of a Page 7 .g. VM can be sub-divided into product design centred VM. Production-centred VM simulates the activities in process development and alternative process plans. The costs of training and production can thus be reduced. it is possible to conduct training under a distributed virtual environment for the operators. The related information of a new product (e. that exist in the real world. technicians and management people on the use of manufacturing facilities. production-centred VM and control-centred VM. Classification based on type of system integration According to the definitions proposed by Onosato and Iwata. 3. whereas that simulates a RIS and generates control commands for the RPS is called a ``virtual-informational system' (VIS). 3. With the use of VM on the Internet.Virtual Manufacturing Systems machining and assembly. 3. VM can be used to acquire continuously the manufacturing know-how. traditional manufacturing processes.1.etc. every manufacturing system can be decomposed into two different sub-systems: a real and physical system (RPS). Classification of a VM system 3.) is provided to the designer and the manufacturing system designers for supporting the decision making in the product design process. Product designcentred VM makes use of different virtual designs to produce the production prototype. It aims at the rapid evaluation of a production plan. etc. An RPS is composed of substantial entities such as materials. and a real informational system (RIS). production data.

the mechanical and physical characteristics of the equipment and tooling. factors affecting the accuracy of the inspection process. 3. It can be used to evaluate the feasibility of a part design and the selection of processing equipment. Virtual inspection makes use of the VM technology to model and simulate the inspection process. 2. extrusion. It aims at the optimisation of the production cycles based on the dynamic control of the process parameters. 3. Virtual prototyping (VP) mainly deals with the processes. The virtue of VP lies not only in the reduction of the fabrication of physical prototypes. virtual machining. injection moulding. the interrelationship among different parts and the factors affecting the quality based on modelling and simulation. inspection plan. processing time and manufacturing costs. Control-centred VM makes use of the VM technology onthe dynamic control of the production processes. These facilitate the discussion. Classification based on functional usage VM is used in the interactive simulation of various manufacturing processes such as virtual prototyping. blanking. etc. milling.3. 4. 1. manipulation and modification of the product data model directly among personnel with different technical backgrounds. and the physical and mechanical properties of the inspection equipment. product quality and hence the material properties. shortening the product development time and cost. This aims at studying the inspection methodologies. product cycle and costs as well as to Page 8 . etc. collision check. tooling and equipment in casting. VP makes use of modelling and simulation techniques to analyse the factors affecting the process.Virtual Manufacturing Systems manufacturing system and even the objectives of the design of the physical system. etc. etc. Virtual machining mainly deals with cutting processes such as turning. VM is mainly used to investigate the assembly processes. The VM technology is used to study the factors affecting the quality. drilling and grinding. In assembly work . virtual inspection. but also in supporting product design and presentation through qualitative simulation and analysis [5]. It can also be used to predict the quality of an assembly. machining time and costs based on modelling and simulation of the material removal process as well as the relative motion between the tool and the workpiece. etc. virtual assembly and virtual operational system.

g.3. 4. Establishment of virtual physical units The establishment of a virtual physical unit (e. The current and prospective research areas 4. a material processing unit. and image processing software that are available for performing the tasks. However. The establishment of the virtual physical units includes the integration and management of 3D solid models. and models for the simulation of motion and the mechanical properties of the virtual physical units. 5. There is a number of CAD/CAM software and object-orientated programming languages. etc. Virtual operational control makes use of VM technology to investigate the material flow and information flow as well as the factors affecting the operation of a manufacturing system.Virtual Manufacturing Systems evaluate the feasibility of the assembly process plan and the selection of assembly equipment. Some of these technologies are comparatively mature. robot. precision and reliability of the information outputs from an individual virtual physical unit. etc.). 3D geometrical solid models and simulation are comparatively mature. machining unit. The performance of a VM system could be seriously affected by the accuracy. and material delivery devices. Virtual product model and representation Page 9 . Key technologies involved in VM The development of VM demands multi-disciplinary knowledge and technologies related to the hardware and software of the computer. which mimics the operation of a real physical unit. inspection unit. forms the crucial basis for the development of a VM system. assembly unit. information technology. 4. 4.1. It can be used to evaluate the design and operational performance of the material flow and information flow system.2. most of them have to be further developed to form an integrated VM platform. microelectronics. manufacturing and mathematical computation.

there is a need for developing geometrical representation methods which are capable of representing the machining errors and surface roughness of the workpiece and deliver this information to the CAE and virtual assembly system. This includes the validation Page 10 . the technologies for product modelling. regular curved surfaces and synthetic curved surfaces to represent the product surfaces. regular curved surfaces or synthetic surfaces during design.Virtual Manufacturing Systems A product model is a generic model used to representing all types of artefacts that appear in the course of manufacturing.4. Due to the rapid development and application of CAD/CAM technologies and object-orientated computer programming languages. whereas process validation is critical to verify what production processes can best meet the cost and quality goals of a given design. they make use of ideal surfaces. Nerbis synthetic curved surface are widely adopted in model simulation . their materials and intermediate products. the traditional product modelling and representation methods cannot meet the needs for quantitative analysis of VM process design. For example. which are the evaluation of the performance of the system and the validation of the related information generated by the VM system for a particular product development. tools and machines. non-manifold boundary representation (B-Rep). computer representation. 4. and any other manufacturing resources and environmental objects. These representation methods do not take into consideration the surface roughness of the machined surfaces. product data management (PDM) and engineering data management (EDM) have advanced rapidly. state space. However.Even under the consideration of the manufacturing tolerance. In order to mimic the machining errors and surface quality of the workpiece. reliability. and durability requirements of a given design. computer representation and virtual PDM. The evaluation of a kind of VM system can be divided into two main streams. Those objects have many aspects or views. It represents target products. constructive solid geometry (CSG). Since there are various errors introduced by the machine. Performance evaluation technologies for VM Product design validation is vital to the verification of the functional. the surfaces of the actual workpiece are not similar to flat surfaces. The success of these technologies allows their applications in virtual product modelling. The former determines the functional capability of the VM system. features model.

The manufacturability of a product includes the feasibility of processing as well as the feasibility of assembling of the parts and product assemblies. manufacturing quality analysis. Although extensive research work has been devoted to investigating this issue. system architecture and the quality of user interfaces. most of the proposed methodologies of manufacturability evaluation include the logical determination method for manufacturability or non manufacturability. Page 11 . It is not only a difficult problem for VM but also for real manufacturing (RM). Although some successful research studies have been found in these areas. The evaluation methods developed so far mainly include: product manufacturability validation. Most of these methods focus on a single process or a specific product. manufacturing cycle and difficulties of the processes. the grading method based on the level of difficulties of various process. The latter evaluates the standard of the product design. Up to the present. However. analyses for production cycle. most of the research has been found to be limited to a single process. Nowadays. VM demands the development of common methods. etc. The modelling and simulation techniques for production quality analysis and business risk analysis also form a crucial part in the development of evaluation technologies for VM. 5. etc. and business risks. which are appropriate for the evaluation of the whole manufacturing process. since numerous factors are present in the processes. the difficulties will be large. manufacturability and associated investment risks during the course of product development by the user.Virtual Manufacturing Systems of the accuracy of the models. The current methods might not be mature enough. manufacturing cycle and costing methods. etc. the development is still far from perfect to meet future demands. as well as the integrated method based on the manufacturing costs. there exist many social and technical problems which obstruct the development of VM systems. the problems have not yet resolved satisfactorily. production costs. If the whole manufacturing system is taken into consideration. The major obstacles in the development of VM Although the development of VM originated from the evolution of information technologies and business environment. including integrated analysis of the product life cycle and costs.

it is still far from being sufficient to meet the further demanding technology for VM. Although some research work has been devoted in researching the core theories of the manufacturing processes.1.1. These include the construction of 3D solid models. is still far from perfect. a VM system is needed to absorb and acquire a large amount of information for it to operate. etc. graphical image processing manufacturing resources planning. product features processing. a large number of problems has not yet been solved and is still dependent on human judgement by experience. However. Artificial intelligence (AI) for knowledge acquisition Apart from technological know-how on the manufacturing process and modelling. 5.. Technical obstacles 5. VM is developed based on human know-how and understanding of the manufacturing processes. factors affecting the successful draw of a sheet metal product. the external interface and the speed of I/O of the computer have to be enhanced to meet future needs. acquisition of manufacturing know-how and processing. On the other hand.3. graphical image processing. For example. Operational speed of the system AVM system is required to handle a large amount of work on complex mathematical computation.1. data exchange and remote communications.2. This demands a better learning and knowledge acquisition capability of the RM facilities so as to Page 12 . Even with the rapid advancement of the computational power of the computer system and information technology. virtual reality (VR). present understanding on the selection of optimal cutting conditions for metal removal processes. The successful development of VM depends much on present knowledge and capabilities of applying modern mathematical tools to describe and to present the knowledge in a systematic manner. 5. modelling and representation The rapid development of digital network communication and computer sciences provides indispensable tools for the development of VM applications. 3D animation.Virtual Manufacturing Systems 5. etc.1.1. Manufacturing know-how.

customers and other enterprises. There is a need to establish a complete database for supporting the VM operation.. 5. the data standards used in production facilities and software of different manufacturers might be different.g. databases for resources and knowledge. Database management A VM system is not only required to integrate different dispersed and independent databases for information and knowledge bases within an enterprise but also the databases from the suppliers. However. fuzzy theory. The applications of AI technologies on VM have to be sought. In addition. etc.1.Virtual Manufacturing Systems facilitate the monitoring of the operational performance of the RM system by the VM system as well as to make better and more accurate predictions and decisions. In order to ensure efficient operation of a VM system. 5. there is a need for establishing an unified data standard or data conversion software for facilitating the data exchanging among the VM. the theoretical bases and technologies for database management have achieved a substantial success. Unify the data standards A complete VM system is a large system.5.1. CAD/CAM/CAE. Since the development and the launch of standards are usually lag far behind the real production needs. in process control. There are many studies on the application of AI tools such as neural networks. Although many related standards have been built by the ISO organisation. etc. different countries and manufacturers have developed less compatible standards for their own use. further work is still required to upgrade the database Page 13 . money and capital. Only a very small portion of these resources has been converted to computer databases. This introduces problems for the development of VM to be used over the Internet. It does not only perform the task of data exchange with various software systems (e. but also needs to exchange information among different hardware facilities of different manufacturers. Nowadays. CAD/CAM/CAE and RM systems.). and generic algorithms. The successful conversion of the know-how of the manufacturing technologies to computer databases demands the investment of a huge amount of manpower.4. the knowledge bases for the manufacturing technologies are expanding enormously.

However. the concepts of open resource sharing and risk sharing are highlighted in VM. there exist some social problems that include the following. This demands for the development of related evaluation methods and tools. especially for new product development without the presence of standard evaluation techniques. Since the scope of Page 14 . it is inevitable for an enterprise to consider keeping their information confidential. different standards are adopted by different enterprises and a large difference is usually found among sectors. 1. 3. Under various environments. 5. The development of VM applications includes many enterprises. difference still exists. Active support from research organisations.2. Even within the same business sectors. the development of VM applications presents problems on verifying the compatibility and accuracy of a VM system with a RM system as well as the measure of the effectiveness of a VM system in improving the product quality and manufacturing process. Evaluation techniques and standard The contribution and significance of the VM system are on its capabilities of providing compatible and equivalent results to a RM system so as to allow for the improvement of the product design and manufacturing processes. 5. From a longterm point of view. enterprises and government are vital to the successful development of a VM system. Although. VM offers an attractive solution for an enterprise to improve its efficiency and productivity. business sectors and technological eras. However. The way to develop a unified standard and regulations is a social problem which needs further work. Social obstacles In addition to the technical obstacles presented during the development and application of VM technologies. The development of a VM system also demands the investment of a large amount of capital and management effort.6. The development of a VM system and its applications is a large establishment. VM might not be a turnkey solution to improve the current status of an enterprise from a short-term point of view.Virtual Manufacturing Systems technologies to meet the future growing demand.1. 2.

1 Expected benefits As small modifications in manufacturing can have important effects in terms of cost and quality. ECONOMICS AND SOCIO-ECONOMICS 6. this also forms a social obstacle in the development of VM. Virtual Manufacturing will provide manufacturers with the confidence of knowing that they can Page 15 .Virtual Manufacturing Systems VM is bound together with the emphases on resource sharing. 6.

the NC controller (motion analysis. – from the production point of view it will reduce material waste.) or evaluate many production scenarios at different levels of fidelity. lean operations. The expected benefits of VM are: – from the product point of view it will reduce time-to-market. improve quality. look-ahead)If we consider flow simulation. VM can simulate the behaviour of the machine tool including the tool and part interaction (geometric and physical analysis). It allows reducing the number of prototypes as virtual prototype as cheaper than building physical models. object-oriented discrete events simulations allow to efficiently model. reduce the number of physical prototype models. VM and simulation change the procedure of product and process development. It reduces the cost of tooling and improves the quality.Virtual Manufacturing Systems deliver quality products to market on time and within the initial budget. They are an aid for the determination of optimal layout and the optimization of production lines in order to accommodate different order sizes and product mixes. VM optimizes manufacturing processes including the physics level and can add analytical production simulation to other integration and analysis technologies to allow high confidence validation of new processes or paradigms. Page 16 . in the production phase. Shorter cycle time: increase the ability to go directly into production without false starts. Virtual manufacturing will contribute to the following benefits in [5]: 1. The existence of graphical-3D kinematics simulation are used for the design. experiment and analyze facility layout and process flow. Quality: Design For Manufacturing and higher quality of the tools and work instructions available to support production. In terms of control. evaluation and offline programming of work-cells with the simulation of true controller of robot and allows mixed environment composed of virtual and real machines. The finite element analysis tool is widespread and as a powerful engineering design tool it enables companies to simulate all kind of fabrication and to test them in a realistic manner. VM adds manufacturing information in order to allow simulation of many manufacturing alternatives: one can optimize the design of product and processes for a specific goal (assembly. lower manufacturing cost. improve the confidence in the process. This is intended to reduce time and cost for any industrial product. Prototyping will change to virtual prototyping so that the first real prototype will be nearly ready for production. 2. reduce cost of tooling. it can be used for decision-making. In combination with optimization tool. in the design phase.

g. it will become easier to use these technologies and it will move in the area of industrial application and then investments will pay off. The shape of the face in the diagram presented in Fig. existing CAD-CAM systems. For example in the automotive and aerospace companies in the late 60’s. return to producing previously shelved products. Universities develop new technologies focusing on technology itself. 5. 6. Customer relations: improved relations through the increased participation of the customer in the Integrated Product Process Development process.Virtual Manufacturing Systems 3. mix production of different products. CAD was struggling for acceptance. Flexibility: Execute product changeovers rapidly. 6. – “effort against development in time” is a type of time axis and refers to future progress and technological developments (e.2 Economic aspects It is important to understand the difference between academic research and industrial tools in term of economic aspects. for a part of its scope. Responsiveness: respond to customer “what-ifs” about the impact of various funding profiles and delivery schedule with improved accuracy and timeless. high quality. 3 in [9] is defined by two curves: – “effort against level of detail” where “level of detail” refers to the accuracy of the model of simulation (the number of elements in the mesh of a FEM model or the fact if only static forces are taken into account for a simulation. first article production that is trouble-free.g. industrial users focus on reliability of the technology. more powerful computers or improved VR equipment). involves no reworks and meets requirements. Producibility: Optimise the design of the manufacturing system in coordination with the product design. 4.). But in the future. Researchers do not care how long the simulation will need to calculate the results and they not only develop the simulation but they need to develop the tools and methods to evaluate whether the simulation is working fine and whether the results are exact. Now 3-D geometry is the basis of the design process. Virtual Manufacturing is. It took 35 years for CADPage 17 . To our mind. maturity economic aspects (referring to the effort axis) and on the integration of these techniques within existing information technology systems of the companies (e. On the other hand. still an academic topic.

1 Machine-tool The trend in the machine tool manufacturers sector concerning Virtual Manufacturing is research and development towards the “Virtual Machine Tool”.Virtual Manufacturing Systems CAM to evolve from a novel approach used by pioneers to an established way of doing things. hardware. operating systems have evolved as well as education and organizations within the enterprise in order to support these new tools. TRENDS AND EXPLOITABLE RESULTS 7. Page 18 . software. some are mature but their uses are not widespread and some are still under development. During this period. Today. 3. as shown in Fig. Fig 3 : Academic Research and Industrial Tools 7. some techniques are daily used in industry.

whereas the simulation of cutting processes is an item for international research (this excludes the pure NCprogram simulation. and by the simulation of (1) the stationary behaviour of the machine structure.g. The process simulation of forming processes is almost state-of the-art in industry. like e. tool and work piece during cutting operations). (3) the changing of signals and state variables in electronic circuits and (4) by the simulation of the manufacturing process itself. which is widely used in industry. elaborating the frequency response with FEA and combining this with a bloc simulation of the machine. Current research is combining different types of simulation to reflect various interdependencies. the simulation activities are isolated from each other. (2) the dynamic behaviour of moving parts. Nowadays. Page 19 .Virtual Manufacturing Systems Fig 4: Maturity of techniques versus market penetration The goal of the Virtual Machine Tool is to reduce time and cost for the developing of new machine tools by introducing virtual prototypes that are characterized by a comprehensive digital geometrical design. but which does not reflect the realistic behaviour of the interaction of machine tool.

Developments in Augmented Reality focus on co-operative telework.3 Aerospace Virtual Manufacturing in aerospace industry is used in FEA to design and optimise parts. are standard in product design. and FEA of parts of the automobiles are state-of-the-art. e. the objective of the Digital Product Creation Process is to design the product and the manufacturing process digitally with full visualization and simulation for the three domains: product. which is visualized by Head Mounted Displays. maintenance and training activities [8]. The simulation of human tasks with Manikins allows the definition of useful virtual environment for assembly. in 3D-kinematics simulation to program automatic riveting machines and some works dealing with augmented reality to support complex assembly and service tasks (the worker sees needed information within his glasses). 3D-kinematics simulation of manufacturing systems and robots. like e. the process domain covers the detailed planning of the manufacturing process (from the assignment of resources and optimization of workflow to process simulation). process and resources. Page 20 . like painting with robots. Flow simulation of factories and ware houses. where developers located in distributed sites manipulate a virtual work piece. The product domain covers the design of individual part of the vehicle (including all the data throughout the product life cycle).Virtual Manufacturing Systems 7.g. simulation of assembly processes with models of human operators. reduce the weight of frames by integral construction. New trends are focusing on the application of Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies.g. Virtual Reality technologies. 7. stereoscopic visualization via CAVE and Powerwall. New developments adapt these technologies to manufacturing issues.2 Automotive In the automotive industry.

CONCLUSION: As a conclusion of this paper. The graphical user interface and the seamless connection to CAD systems will require continuous improvements. I believe that Virtual Manufacturing is today a competitive advantage for many companies around the world and soon will be a business requirement for all manufacturing companies. but the tools are in place and the path is visible. we must work to create systems that are easy to use for the purposes intended rather than continually adding the latest features. leading companies are already demonstrating the successful use of virtual manufacturing techniques. Moreover if large manufacturing enterprises have developed and applied with success VM technologies (aerospace. all the pieces are in place for Virtual Manufacturing to become a standard tool for the design to manufacturing process: computer technology is widely used and accepted. most of all. There is much to be done. companies need faster solutions for cost / time saving. performance and verisimilitude of the simulations. And. Nevertheless. even if there is a lot of work to do. for more accurate simulations. Nowadays. Page 21 . we have to note that there are still some drawbacks to overcome for a complete integration of VM techniques: data integrity.Virtual Manufacturing Systems 8. we can say that we have now reached a point where everyone can use VM. The Internet will be a powerful driver for new ways of working and interacting with diverse teams. the concept of virtual prototyping is widely accepted. VM is a capital intensive technology and a lot of SMEs do not have the wherewithal to integrate them). automotive. if not clear. Certainly there is more work to do. system integration. training. We must continually work to improve the ease of use. It appears that VM will stimulate the need to design both for manufacturability and manufacturing efficiency.

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