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Virtual Simulation and Training in Assembly and Maintenance (VISTRA)

Stephan Weyer
MANUFUTURE-EU 2015: Manufacturing Education - A View to the Future, European Commission, Brussels, 1/2015.


European manufacturers must cope with the effects of rising competition and globalized markets. As a consequence, manufacturing enterprises must drastically shorten the innovation lifecycles and time-to-market, and at the same time lower the costs for product development and production. In this context, virtual prototyping and simulation tools are used to accelerate the time-to-market and time-to-production significantly. Today, already a wide range of specific tools for simulation exists as part of the Digital Factory. Typically, the data is represented either from the viewpoint of product design or from the viewpoint of manufacturing which restrains its interoperable use. Integrating existing data both from engineering and from manufacturing for creating interactive and immersive simulation environments, is a new and innovative approach to simulate, plan and train manufacturing and service processes before the product or the production line even exists. In comparison to physical testing, virtual training platforms will considerably speed up the ramp-up times and increase productivity. However, in order to reduce the number expensive and laborious physical prototypes, virtual simulation techniques have further to be improved: automatic data processing and human-interaction aspects must be integrated. In this way, the VISTRA platform addresses the Simultaneous Engineering Challenge, to bridge the data gap between product design and manufacturing engineering (innovation) and production (productivity).