In an effort to cut costs and boost efficiency, Ford is to introduce a complete virtual factory that will simulate the production process on the assembly line.
With thousands of components needed to construct a vehicle, it is believed that computer simulation will help with the testing of the vehicle build process without the need for investing in a real-world production line until it is ready. Indeed Ford has been using computer simulations since 1977 – the first carmaker to do so.
According to Jose Terrades, the simulations engineer of Ford in Spain, work has already begun on the virtual factory project.
“Virtual factories will enable Ford to preview and optimise the assembly of future models at any of our plants, anywhere in the world,” he said.
“With the advanced simulations and virtual environments we already have at our disposal, we believe this is something Ford can achieve in the very near future.”
The virtual factory will be created first at the Valencia plant in Spain with special projectors and polarising to be used as well as motion-sensing glasses that will create 3D virtual reality manufacturing scenarios (pictured).
In addition, Ford will increase its use of “augmented reality” vehicles – 3D vehicle simulations that combine scanned imagery if physical prototypes with engineering data and assist with the efficient evaluation of component integration.
Ford is also increasing its use of “augmented reality” vehicles. These 3D vehicle simulations combine engineering data and scanned imagery of physical prototypes to enable efficient evaluation of component integration.
Paul is a freelance writer with a background in everything from motoring to finance; and holidays to women's undergarments he just writes about them, honestly! He has now sadly crept into his early 30s and seems to have forgotten everything learned at school Still, he's a green car fanatic and isn't that what counts?
One important point missed here is that it reduces the need for physical prototypes which has a positive impact on the environment. The idea being that the issues with the design are found and solved at the design stage and changed in the 3d CAD models before physical parts are made.
August 20, 2012