Development of Networked Virtual Environment Platform in Support ...

slipperhangingAI and Robotics

Nov 14, 2013 (4 years and 8 months ago)


Essential concepts and

virtual reality

(VR) or

virtual environment

(VE), computer
environment with and within which people can interact. The advantage
of VR is that it can immerse people in an environment that would
normally be unavailable due to cost, safety, or perception restrictions. A
successful VR environment offers users immersion, navigation, and
manipulation. VR encompasses a range of interactive computer
environments, from text
oriented on
line forums and multiplayer games
to complex simulations that combine audio; video, animation, or three
dimensional graphics; and scent. Some of the more realistic effects are
achieved using a helmet like apparatus with tiny computer screens,
one in front of each eye and each giving a slightly different view so as
to mimic stereoscopic vision. Sensors attached to the participant (e.g.,
gloves, bodysuit, footwear) pass on his or her movements to the
computer, which changes the graphics accordingly to give the
participant the feeling of movement through the scene.

generated physical feedback adds a "feel" to the visual
illusion, and computer
controlled sounds and odors reinforce the
virtual environment. Other VR systems, such as

flight simulators
use larger displays and enclosed environments to create an illusion.
complicated systems for

personal computers

manipulate an
image of three
dimensional space on a computer screen. In a


many users can be immersed in the same
simulation, each perceiving it from a personal point of view. VR is
used in some

electronic games
, in amusement
park attractions, in
military exercises, and to simulate construction designs.
Experimental and envisioned uses include education, industrial
design, surgical training, and art.

An artificial reality that projects the user into a 3D space generated
by the computer. A virtual reality system uses stereoscopic goggles
that provide the 3D imagery and some sort of tracking device, which
may be the goggles themselves for tracking head and body
movement, or a "data glove" that tracks hand movements. The glove
lets you point to and manipulate computer
generated objects
displayed on tiny monitors inside the goggles.

Virtual manufacturing (VM) may play a
significant role in distributed manufacturing,
since it may improve design critiquing and
process planning. These improvements will
result in better designs and more informed
partner selection. Furthermore, VM is
expected to support distributed design if it
provides protocols and computer aids for




Evaluating the manufacturability of a proposed
design involves determining whether or not it
is manufacturable with a given set of
manufacturing operations
and if so, finding
the associated manufacturing efficiency.

Distributed manufacturing is performed by
virtual enterprises
. A virtual enterprise is a
partnership of companies that forms in
response to a certain market opportunity. The
partners, who may geographically distributed
and of various sizes and technical
sophistication, contribute their core
competence to the enterprise, enhancing its
ability to deliver high quality, cost effective
products to the market in a timely fashion.

Distributed design is performed by multiple
designers who may be distributed
geographically and who employ
heterogeneous design support systems.

Addition of simulations to control models
and actual processes, allowing for
seamless simulation for optimization
during the actual production cycle.

new product development (NPD)

advanced planning and scheduling (APS),

aided manufacturing (CAM),

aided production engineering
(CAPE), computer
aided production planning

manufacturing execution systems (MES), and

manufacturing process management (MPM)

a) Styling

b) Concept Design

c) Ergonomics

d) Design Review

e) Virtual Maintenance

f) Virtual

g) Virtual Training

a) Styling

b) Concept Design

c) Ergonomics

d) Design Review

e) Virtual Maintenance

f) Virtual

g) Virtual Training

a) Styling

b) Concept Design

c) Ergonomics

d) Design Review

e) Virtual Maintenance

f) Virtual

g) Virtual Training

a) Styling

b) Concept Design

c) Ergonomics

d) Design Review

e) Virtual Maintenance

f) Virtual

g) Virtual Training

a) Styling

b) Concept Design

c) Ergonomics

d) Design Review

e) Virtual Maintenance

f) Virtual

g) Virtual Training

a) Styling

b) Concept Design

c) Ergonomics

d) Design Review

e) Virtual Maintenance

f) Virtual

g) Virtual Training

a) Styling

b) Concept Design

c) Ergonomics

d) Design Review

e) Virtual Maintenance

f) Virtual

g) Virtual Training

In VM the engineer studies the real process a

No empirical study is necessary anymore.

MV allows for in expensive, fast evaluation of many
processing alternatives before committing the process
to the shop floor.

Manufacturing process is optimized, potentially down
to the physical level.

Scope pf VM

“Soft” design
prototypes can be virtually manufactured to optimize
the design of the product for a specific goal.


V. R. can be applied in a variety of ways. In scientific and
engineering research, V. E. are used to
visually explore
whatever physical world phenomenon is under study

personnel for work in
dangerous environments

or with expensive equipment is best done through
simulation. Airplane pilots, for example, train in
. Virtual reality can enable medical personnel
to practice new surgical procedures on simulated
individuals. As a form of entertainment, virtual reality is a
highly engaging way to experience imaginary worlds and to
play games. Virtual reality also provides a way to
experiment with prototype designs for new products.

VM Constitution

Essentials of DM

VR is a collection of technologies.

Is VM an application of VR?

VR is only a tool for visualizaion in VM

GUI serves this purpose.

Collaborative computing is an emerging networking strategy that
links every department

even every employee

throughout a
company. The idea itself has floated around since at least the early
1990s, but has finally come into its own thanks to expanded
networking capabilities presented by the ubiquitous nature of the
World Wide Web and corporate intranets.

Concurrent engineering has become one of the latest technology
buzzwords for industrial users. It allows different groups to create
individual parts of a mechanical design at different locations, and at
different stages of the design process.

For instance, one user might be designing an electrical component
while another person is testing it for installation or maintainability,
while a third person is performing training on that same component
(see ISR, May 1996). Virtual reality developers are adding another
dimension to the collaborative effort, and making VR technology
accessible throughout an enterprise during a product's entire

For more information go to

based methodology for design of holonic
manufacturing systems has been presented. The methodology
uses VR for modeling, simulation and monitoring holonic
manufacturing control systems and their operations. VR
technology allows the users to interact intuitively with the
manufacturing environments and its objects, as if they were
real, by immersing them in a highly realistic 3
D environment.

Two major components are proposed and developed as
building environments of the methodology. These are namely;
holonic control and VR operations environments.

MASs integrated to IEC 61499 function blocks have been used
for design of holonic control environments, involving
autonomous, cooperative holons, providing quick response to
the perturbations in the system.

For more information go to

The VR operations environment consists of an interactive VR
container platform with a GUI for receiving the user requests
upon several manufacturing operations, editing parameters of
production processes and viewing the HMS operations in
virtual environment.

The objects of VR environment communicate with the holonic
control function blocks through ‘sockets’ which are modular
and re
configurable interfaces for data transfer between
software platforms based.

The function blocks designed for control of the virtual
manufacturing system is directly connected to the VR objects
in order to trigger the events of operations in VR environment.

Each holon is autonomous and has the responsibility of
maintaining its local knowledge and keeping its neighbor
holons informed once something changed. None of the
individual holons has the knowledge about the whole system.

For more information go to

The overall objective of the solutions are to provide a virtual
interactive environment which supports the entire life cycle of a
factory. This includes the usage of


as a command and
control tool for factory design and factory operation. The
virtual world can act as the integration platform for different
simulation models (e.g. OEM supplier models developed in
different simulation tools) .In the design phase of the factory
the processes of the planned factory can be tested and
optimized within the



This very world can be enhanced by didactical knowledge to

assembly procedures
. In the operation phase of the
factory the


world can act as the
virtual representation of the real
. Based on on
line simulation concepts [8] and a connection to
the shop
floor systems the state of the


world (and the connected
simulations) can
reflect the state of the real factory
. In case of
emergencies (e.g. machine failure) the factory
operator can plan and
test different plans

of action (fast
forward simulation) and
select the
best option
. In summary, the issue of combining simulation and
virtual reality into truly interactive and immersive environments is the
next logical step in the development of visual 3D simulations and is a
logical consequence derived from the requirements of the digital
factory. The wide application areas include the virtual


and design of new factories, the support for
operating a factory, the worker qualification and many more.

Work Area 2

Work Area 1

Work Area 3

Sales 2

Factory 2

Sales 1


Customer 3

Customer 2

Customer 1

Company 1

Company 2




Multi Enterprise Layer

Enterprise Layer

Shop Floor

Cell Layer

VR is applicable

at these 3 layers

Sales 2

Factory 2

Sales 1


Enterprise Layer

Detail planning and building of the production system (Delmia example)

Previous planning results are detailed

6 manual work stations are realized.

Results of detailed planning:

Estimated costs for engine are not exceeded.

The cycle time is reduced to 105 seconds.





3D Process

Work Area 2

Work Area 1

Work Area 3

Shop Floor

The purposed design
and processes can be
simulated directly in
the virtual
environment in order
to verify applicability
of the proposal

Cell Layer

VR can also directly
simulate the cells
which are the
machines for example a
CNC machine can be
programmed and
tested virtually prior
the real action for

Efficient utilization of the equipment sharing,
distributed in different enterprises

Manufacturing paradigm, addresses rapid
and efficient product development by
equipment sharing technique



Secure and fast analysis tool

which can be reached with
small and medium sized

Economical advantage

Contribution to the total manufacturing output and
employment opportunities

global competition demands high manufacturing
efficiency which dramatically impacts SMEs

Shared using the internet technology that could
provide a shared usage of the latest integrated
manufacturing facilities.









For supporting

Equipment sharing real

Real time collaboration Same virtual environment

Open Architecture

Client server technology

The major benefit of client
server technology

Processing load be shared between client and the

Open Architecture

Client server technology

Due to inherent complexity, it is convenient to
decompose the proposed platform into simpler

Server Side

Client Side

Based upon distributed information management
systems in internet
based manufacturing

agent technology

exploitation of equipment
sharing systems effectively

Based on their functionalities,
identified agents are classified
as follows:

based interface

Define a

manage a


Communication services




exchange of

A client can be any program, such as GUI applications
that requests services from a server application

A system that is used directly by the users to
accomplish the communication between the front
and platform’s database.

Complies with the browser user interface which allows
the exploitation of all net
place capabilities by using
any demanded web browser. Clients are connected to
servers via the Internet. This connection may be via
leased line, dial
up, wireless or etc. A computer system
is used to perform a workstation for each client.

user interface

comprehensive networked virtual environment
in support of equipment sharing systems to improve
the utilization factor and lower the cost of the
enterprises group.

The developed platform is based on standard
technologies applied to J2EE language.

Such technologies consist of Java Server Page
(JSP) for visualization data by creation of HTML
pages for data handling and user communication.

The Viscape is used as basis for the visualization and
development of the virtual environments. This system
has been integrated into the web platform so as to be
directly accessed by users through the graphical user
interface. The communication between the equipment
sharing platform and other application is handled
through the Extensible Markup Language protocol.

Network manufacturing technology combining the
advanced net technology and virtual manufacturing
technology, is an effective approach to reduce
geographical distances and allowed products to be
manufactured on a regional or global basis.

The platform’s integration into virtual environment
enables the interaction of users with the virtual
equipments that efficient evaluation the
manufacturing where the user intervention is crucial

user interaction and visualization.

time collaboration on same equipment.

learning the implementation of the different
equipments (education).

intelligent decision making base on fuzzy logic.

increase equipment utilization, lower cost, and
improve competitiveness of the integrated enterprises

Future works

Completion of network platform

Adding adequate options in user interface

Which are the key barriers prior to VM

Hardware and software for VM

Division Inc. (San Mateo, Calif.;
), for instance, has developed the
universal virtual product (UVP), a fully functional product simulation that can be used to
rapidly study all aspects of a product's form, fit and function. The UVP is a common
medium through which all members of the enterprise

regardless of where they are
physically located

can access, visualize, interact with, and understand the product. It can
be used throughout the product lifecycle for conceptual design, marketing, detailed
design, manufacturing simulation, training, sales, and other applications that will evolve as
companies implement the new concept.

Similarly, Deneb Robotics Inc. (Auburn Hills, Mich.;
) has developed
a virtual collaborative engineering (VCE) environment that links multiple users at multiple
locations, allowing them to analyze and review simulations over a wide area network.
According to Deneb, users can interactively evaluate trade
off decisions involving design
concepts, manufacturing processes, tooling, and factory layouts in the VCE environment.
Any VCE user can assume control of a simulation, make changes, or view changes made
by others on the VCE network.

And a third VR developer

Engineering Animation Inc. (Ames, Iowa;

has its own collaborative engineering environment, which facilitates real
time peer
visualization communication throughout a company's product development process. This
new communications technology is available as a software module for EAI's 3D
visualization and digital prototyping software VisMockUp and VisFly, providing a platform
independent environment in which to view and analyze large product assemblies.

EAI's collaborative engineering environment allows for real
time collaboration on product
design, analysis, motion and assembly information across an entire corporation. Multiple
users in various departments can look at the same data at the same time and interact with
time collaboration capabilities.

By using a collaborative virtual prototyping environment, conceivably everybody in a
manufacturing enterprise, including those at remote locations, can have access to live
models, which incorporate real
time visualization, animation and functional simulation
features. The idea is to improve communication by helping users better understand the
numerous aspects of the design, such as clearances, how parts will move in relation to
one another, collision avoidance, how people will interact with the product, and how
assemblies will come together and be taken apart.

Using a standard Web browser, technical and non
technical users throughout a
corporation can participate in product reviews and have a more immediate influence on the
product development process. With online design reviews, users can bring together their
individual expertise in one collective interactive session to quickly identify and resolve
product issues before costly redevelopment efforts are required.

Division sees its UVP as being closer in characteristics to a physical prototype than a
digital prototype. Some of the UVP's specific functions include:

time event
based behaviors for functional simulation.

a real
time, collaborative engineering environment that simultaneously accommodates
multiple users at remote sites.

intelligent assembly parts for optimizing designs that respond to user input and to the UVP

a scaleable architecture that addresses needs throughout the manufacturing enterprise.

time animation for assembly/disassembly and maintainability studies.

an open architecture to interface with CAD/CAM/CAE tools.

When properly integrated with a product data management (PDM) system, Division's dVISE
development tool can be automatically updated to ensure that users always have a current
view of the UVP. Since dVISE is available as a Net
scape Navigator plug
in, the UVP can be
accessed by remote users via a Web browser.

The object oriented modeling and programming techniques are
proposed for the development of VR environments and their
interaction to the holonic control environments.

A prototype test implementation has been performed in a FMS
for demonstrating the various aspects of the holonic system.

As the earlier step of developing and implementing the VR
based holonic design and operations of agile manufacturing
systems, the concept and technologies were validated; the
original objective was achieved, thus, paving the way for
further development and application.

However, this is an on
going work and therefore only
preliminary results are presented.

The overall holonic system framework has been also applied to
an industrial case study in a die
casting manufacturing factory
with another on
going study for solving various production
planning, scheduling and process control issues in SMEs.

The VR operations environment constitutes a human system interface through
which human users can feel free to add or delete any type of system entities.
Once a system entity is added to the system, a new holonic agent is
automatically created and registered to the cooperation domain. The
relationship between the new added holon with other holons (i.e. inputs and
outputs relations) will be updated into its knowledge base.

Through the dynamic information exchange among holonic agents, the
transport network of the entire system is stored in each individual holon and
any change of the system layout can be detected and captured. The integration
of holonic agent control system with the VR simulations forms a design and
operations environment for various HMS operations, i.e. material handling,
assembly, manufacturing.

The human system interface of the platform is used to let user interactively
change the system configuration and communicate with other holonic agents
to adapt to the changing environment.

In addition, the user can simulate several failures of system components and
trace the reaction of holonic control for finding delivery routes, repairing
workstations and dynamically updating the production schedules.

The initial VR, function and control logic models of the virtual factory under
study are evaluated, re
generated and instantly implemented into an already
running system. The resulting model, which is iteratively upgraded, is verified
in VR simulation environment and used to analyze the performance and agility
of the desired manufacturing system.