Virtual reality for assembly methods prototyping: a review
Assembly planning and evaluation is an important component of the product design process in which details about how parts of a new product will be put together are formalized. A well designed assembly process should take into account various factors such as optimum assembly time and sequence, tooling and fixture requirements, ergonomics, operator safety, and accessibility, among others. Existing computer-based tools to support virtual assembly either concentrate solely on representation of the geometry of parts and fixtures and evaluation of clearances and tolerances or use simulated human mannequins to approximate human interaction in the assembly process. Virtual reality technology has the potential to support integration of natural human motions into the computer aided assembly planning environment (Ritchie et al. in Proc I MECH E Part B J Eng 213(5):461–474, 1999). This would allow evaluations of an assembler’s ability to manipulate and assemble parts and result in reduced time and cost for product design. This paper provides a review of the research in virtual assembly and categorizes the different approaches. Finally, critical requirements and directions for future research are presented.
This is a manuscript of an article from Virtual Reality 15 (2011): 5, doi:10.1007/s10055-009-0153-y. Posted with permission. The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10055-009-0153-y.