3.3.

Digital Protoyping

Physical prototypes are often time and cost intensive and thus need to be reduced to a minimum. By the combining of CAD technologies, rapid prototyping, virtual reality, and reverse engineering, prototypes can be produced faster and more cheaply than before. The employment of virtual prototypes in the early phases of product development, in particular, optimizes the whole development process (Thomke and Fujimoto 1998). The strategic advantage of digital prototyping is the advancement of decisions from the test phase with physical prototypes to the early phases of product development with digital prototypes. Thus, the process of product development and testing can be considerably ameliorated. The digital demonstration allows early modification and optimization of the prototype. Furthermore, it leads to a cost-saving increase in the variety of prototypes. By means of virtual prototypes product features can be easily verified and thus development times can be reduced enormously. Also, faults concerning fabrication or the product itself can be detected in the early development phases and thus be eliminated without great expenditures. This makes it possible to start product planning at an early stage. Due to the early overlapping of development and fabrication, additional synergy effects can be expected. Prerequisites for digital prototyping are the following three areas: CAD, simulation, and virtual reality. Simulation (Rantzau and Thomas 1996) and CAD data produce quantifiable results, whereas the connection with Virtual reality technologies enables a qualitative evaluation of the results (Figure 2). An important component of digital prototyping is the digital mock-up (DMU), a purely digital test model of a technical product. The objective of the DMU is the current and consistent availability of multiple views of product shape, function, and technological coherences. This forms the basis on which the modeling and simulation (testing) can be performed and communicated for an improved configuration of the design. This primary digital design model is also called the virtual product. The virtual product is the reference for the development of a new product, specifically in the design and testing phase. The idea is to test the prototype regarding design, function, and efficiency before producing the physical prototype. Thus, effects of the product design can be detected in a very early phase of product development. This way, possible weaknesses of the physical prototype can be detected and corrected in the design phase, before the physical prototype is

construction.built. and packaging. such as aircraft construction. The development process without DMU. . During this period. Digital prototyping offers enormous advantages to many different applications. and the motor industry. creating physical or virtual prototypes of the entire system is of utmost importance. The decisive changes in the digital prototype are carried out while the physical prototype is being built. requires further tests with several physical prototypes before the end product can be produced. The extensive use of prototypes provides a structure. especially in the early phases of the product-development process. on the contrary. for example: • Evaluation of components by visualization • Evaluation of design variations • Estimation of the surface quality of the car body • Evaluation of the car’s interior • Ergonomic valuation with the aid of virtual reality To sum up. The DMU platform also offers the possibility for a technical integration of product conception. This means that employing the DMU considerably reduces the time-tomarket. Fields of application for digital prototyping in car manufacturing are. the DMU process can achieve almost 100% of the required quality by means of corrections resulting from the simulation processes. design. a discipline and an approach that increases the rate of learning and integration within the development process. An enormous advantage of the DMU is the shortening of iteration cycles. shipbuilding.