Wire Harness Design Software & Support

Trial Without The Error: Ergonomic Simulation To Save Time And Money

Trial Without The Error: Ergonomic Simulation to Save Time and Money

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It won’t come as a great shock to anyone reading this that producing physical prototypes of any new vehicle is a vastly time consuming and costly exercise especially if the first version contains errors or is not manufacturable. If this physical prototyping step could be all but eliminated then the path to product launch would be smoother, shorter, and far less costly.

With the advent of advanced 3D modelling and VR technology we have been able to build and test virtual prototypes. These digital prototypes have been used for some time to assess the design and layout of a vehicle and its constituent parts, but now we can validate the manufacturability and serviceability of the product too. After all you don’t want to employ 8ft circus contortionists just to be able to build or service the vehicle. In all seriousness, this exciting technology is transforming automotive design and assembly, as well as production lines. Let’s dive into the detail of how you can have trials without the errors.

We’ve talked at length previously about simulating the design of cable harnesses or hoses to reduce errors and costs. Simulation software can now also be used to improve the ergonomics of the production process. With better ergonomics in assembly plants work-related operator injuries are reduced, quality and productivity improves, and costs are reduced.

Driven by this, flexStructures has developed a family of Intelligently Moving Mannequins (IMMA) as a module of its IPS software suite, that can be used to evaluate human assembly tasks and paths. These sophisticated digital mannequins are making a significant contribution to the early recognition and correction of planning and assembly errors, especially in complex products and processes.

Simulating workflows for production planning isn’t anything new, however the use of IPS IMMA is a game changer. Previous semi-manual simulations wouldn’t be able to take human diversity into consideration to assess if a 6ft heavy set man can assemble the vehicle components in the same way a 5ft woman can without causing injury or product collisions. They wouldn’t be able to assess the ergonomics of a workstation or plan a collision free path for objects on the production line or allow you to quickly compare alternative solutions. IPS IMMA allows for these scenarios and is improving build quality and saving time and money for its users.

The flexStructures IMMA family is a sophisticated biomechanical model with bones and human joints that truly simulate the human range of motion.  The mannequin consists of 82 bone segments and offers 162 Degrees of Freedom (DoF) to represent the mobility of a human body, allowing it to automatically position itself for comfort or grasp an object dependant on its shape and weight. The system allows for generic functions and automatically rules out the positions that are not seen as comfortable for the mannequin when generating assembly motions to avoid collisions or joint angle limits and best of all…. users do not need to be experts in biomechanics or ergonomics to take advantage of its benefits.

Complementing IMMA in the IPS software suite is a module that allows for assembly path planning and validation of parts and equipment.  Verification of assembly and disassembly paths is a critical element of vehicle manufacturing and yet it is still largely done manually and often late in the development process. How much time would your team save if you could automatically generate collision free assembly/disassembly paths?

So imagine now if you could get inside the design or assembly workstation and truly validate the ergonomics? The latest Virtual Reality (VR) software combined with Haptic technology enables you to immerse yourself in the design and manufacturability of your product. This technology gives you instant feedback, for example enabling you to optimise cable lengths instantly or feel the connectors snap into place without obstructions or define how a component should be gripped to optimise assembly. How cool would that be?

When you combine with the sophisticated IMMA family with assembly validation and VR technology you have a very powerful and robust system that will enable you to get your product to market quickly, safely and at a lower cost. What is there not to love?

If you would like a free demo of the IMMA family to discover how you can benefit from its outstanding capabilities, get in touch.

 

 

 

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Centricity Consulting is a UK-based company specialising in software tools and services for the design, analysis and manufacture of wire harnesses and flexible materials. Talk to us today about your engineering needs.

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