In order to optimize the manufacturing of future products, Ford is developing a complete virtual factory to simulate end-to-end assembly line production. Taking advantage of sophisticated visualization technology, Ford will improve efficiency, cut costs, and deliver higher quality products. This will all be accomplished without actually creating any parts, but rather using virtual space to evaluate all facets of the manufacturing process.
To accomplish this, Ford will leverage various types of advanced audio-visual technology to create their virtual factory. A combination of specialized stereoscopic 3D projectors, optical tracking systems, 3D glasses with optical markers, high-end graphics processors, and 3D CAD software applications will be used to generate the imagery necessary to power the visualization.
This combination of technology will put users in immersive virtual environments that provide scale representations of the real-world work environment. Ergonomic experts will be able to use this technology to analyze all every detail of the cars being made to ensure the most efficient production, as well as how the employees move to ensure the real life operators a less strenuous, more user-friendly work environment.
Typical of many IGI installations, the Ford Cologne facility will utilize what is referred at as a CAVE virtual environment. This is a 4-6 sided room that provides interactive 3D environments for the evaluation and testing of automotive models. Stereoscopic projectors are placed behind each side of the room, which are in turn rear-projection screens. Advanced computer graphics processing feed each projector and create a single immersive graphics model of the desired environment. An optical tracking system uses cameras and motion markers to triangulate the user’s position in the room and adjusts the virtual model accordingly.
IGI also installs alternate immersive visualization systems referred to as “PowerWalls.” These are large, rear-projection systems that allow for scale representations of car models or aspects of the manufacturing process. Usually a room will be dedicated to the PowerWall where the screen will replace an entire wall and provide stereoscopic 3D visuals. The IGI | PowerWall can also be integrated with ultra-high resolution 4K (4096X2160) projectors, such as the Barco Galaxy 4K or the Sony SRXT420. This pixel resolution is required to accurately evaluate visual data at its original image fidelity, allowing users to make accurate design decisions on the spot in a virtual environment.
For more information regarding the Ford Virtual Factory, please visit the Ford Online News Center at this link: http://corporate.ford.com/news-center/press-releases-detail/pr-ford-plans-virtual-factory-for-36862
IGI is an industry leading provider of audio-visual (AV) systems for advanced visualization and commercial AV applications. These state-of-the-art solutions are the culmination of our vast industry experience in delivering leading-edge technologies and our unwavering commitment to reliability, quality and attentive service. Learn more at www.werigi.com.