Visualization Support for Virtual Redesign of Manufacturing Systems
Paper in proceedings, 2013
Rapidly changing products and market demand call for manufacturing systems to be continuously adapted and developed. The process of modifying manufacturing systems requires large amounts of planning involving contributions from personnel across an organization. These people need a shared understanding of the future system, including but not limited to its design, functions, and expected performance. One common representation in the virtual manufacturing system domain are 2D CAD layouts. Typical problems with such traditional 2D models are that only experts understand the content fully. For increased understanding, 3D CAD models could bridge the gap between different areas of expertise. However, creating 3D models representing the complete system is traditionally time-consuming, resulting in oversimplified models or limited to parts of the system. Furthermore, such models normally contain uncertainty about building-related geometries that could incur costly mistakes if used as basis for decisions, e.g. realizing during installation of a machine that roof-beams interfere with the planned placement. This paper evaluates what type of problems can be solved with better visualization support, e.g. issues concerning workshop-layout, production flow, workplace design, etc. The evaluation is based on two case studies at different manufacturing sites during ongoing system redesign processes. The case studies implemented visualization using a combination of CAD models and 3D laser scanned as-built data of the current system and facility. The vision is to implement the Lean concept of “Go to Gemba” for a future state in a virtual environment. Bringing this concept into the early phases of manufacturing system redesign has the potential to facilitate the creation of a shared understanding of the future system within cross-functional project teams.