The information gap between virtual product and manufacturing engineering and the physical start of production is a fundamental problem for European manufacturers. Knowledge about products and processes, which is currently distributed over heterogeneous systems, is rich in information but a platform for presenting this knowledge according to the different user roles (e.g., production planners or shop floor people) is missing. Enterprise data must be captured, updated, enriched and transferred into an interoperable platform, which enables cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing throughout the product life-cycle.
Reuse of product and process data is a promising approach to leverage virtual simulation of manual manufacturing processes. Up to now, the complexity and incompatibility of digital data are the main reasons why planning and training of manual manufacturing processes, e.g. in automotive and aerospace, are still carried out in physical stages or during the ramp-up. The simulation and training of complex manufacturing processes in physical stages are expensive and often ineffective. In order to reduce the need for physical prototypes and to reduce time-to-market, virtual training must overcome the problems of former approaches, e.g., inadequate authoring times, cost-prohibitive hardware and insufficient user integration.
VISTRA aims at the development of a comprehensive platform for simulation, documentation and training of manual assembly processes based on advanced ICT-technologies and concepts, such as auto-generation and re-use of data, realistic physical behaviour, game-based learning, advanced user-interaction and cross-disciplinary information sharing.
VISTRA will support the European labour-intensive industries in two ways: it will allow for the training of workers in a way which is more efficient, straightforward and resource-saving than today’s methods, and it will enable production engineers to analyse assembly processes before physical mock-ups exist.