Friday, 5 January 2018

Virtual Reality implementation.

Last December the Ireland Section of ISA recognised this project as worthy of their Innovation Project Award. It was adjudged to have met the criteria for this award: "To recognise a project which has made a significant contribution to the advancement of industry in Ireland through the use of Automation Technology." 

Dan Moore
The awardee was Dan Moore, a young engineer with Depuy Syntes based in Cork (Ireland).

This project was entitled: Virtual Reality implemented as a design review tool on ‘Foundry of Future Project’

New machines and production lines are designed in 3D within the 2D environment. This leads to change the asset/production line once built and the end users interact with it. This has large cost implications (time and money) to fix issues that should have been caught at detail design.

Up to now, design reviews have consisted of static reviews of 3D design documentation and 2D layouts to assess if the machine fits within the space allocated (does not account adequately for utilities/facilities).

Among the advantages that Virtual Reality implementation has shown are the following benefits:

a) Safety/ Hazard Identification
Greater evaluation of Hazard identification within the working area, prior to installation
Operators not working with untoward hazards (moving parts, live electricity or other potential hazards that exist in the everyday operation of a facility) following installation.

b) Ergonomic Evaluation
Does the operator have a well-designed work cell that allow for easy access of parts & equipment?
(e.g. able to reach all part locations without moving their feet)
Will the operator be able to complete all necessary motions to operate the machine
Is the machine HMI positioned at the correct height?
Are there openings in the guarding that allow the operator to reach in to hazardous operations?
Are the E-stop buttons within reach of the operator?
How far can an operator reach through a gap?
What maintenance access is available around the machine?

c) Customer Presentation
View what will the completed machine will look like
Evaluate how the new machine will fit next to current equipment

d) Operator Training
Inside a VR training platform, operators can learn the correct and incorrect ways of performing various tasks without posing any risk to other employees or the facility.
Learn through trial & error, making mistakes via VR; often too dangerous to perform in training.

e) Creativity
Brainstorming potential solutions to problems is not limited by cost or time constraints, and conducting a full test for an idea is as simple as changing a few lines of code.

f) Time savings
No need to wait for physical machines to be created.

g) Layouts
Laser scanning of area to capture all utilities and ancillary equipment.

h) Engagement
Engagement with review process is substantially higher with all stakeholders- across the board.

The full slate of awards with pictures may be found on here: Ireland Section Awardees 2017.

#PAuto #ISAuto #Ireland

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