nteractive immersive technologies for process planning (i.e. fixturing sequencing), will be developed; in this section it is envisaged to use commercial of the shelf software (COTS) and to enhance its functionality by developing add on modules. Especially discrete event, using plant simulation software such as Lanner’s Witness, will be used to asses and optimize the sequencing of processes. Operational simulation (i.e. cnc machine program simulation), layout optimization of factories and or workcells will be carried out by developing add-ons to COTS software or where this is not possible by creating bespoke software. It is envisaged that this will be achieved by an innovative menu driven process which will guide the user through the specification of key parameters (i.e. Workpiece size, material properties and process steps) These interactive modules will be designed in such an innovative way as to minimize the learning curve, this is a key aspect of these modules, as 98% of European companies are SMEs achieving a sizable market penetration in as short a period as possible depends on the user friendliness of the developed tools. It is the aim of these modules to be operated in a user friendly “beginner” mode or in an enhanced functionality “expert” mode. Immersive virtual man machine interaction will be achieved by integrating as many of the software modules developed above to assess the ergonomics and most importantly the health and safety aspects in a safe virtual environment, by using it to appraise the movement of personnel and goods while optimizing productivity virtually. By doing this in a virtual environment it will be possible, through suitable optimization loops, to achieve a more productive and safer working environment than with traditional methods which often use tools such as 6 sigma to optimize existing hardware and its layout whereas EASE-R3 will do the optimization in a virtual environment in the design stage.
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