Logo UHasselt





Logo UHasselt Universiteit Hasselt - Knowledge in action

Expertise Centre for Digital Media (EDM) : project R-9002

Title : Design Framework for flexible assembly with operator VR validation (R-9002)
Abstract: Manufacturing and, more specifically, assembly companies are facing a continuously increasing demand for highly customized products. This results in an enormous variety of products that needs to be handled by the production system, stretching the limits of what current assembly systems are capable of. Until now, the manufacturing industry has addressed this rise in customization mostly by company-specific approaches to overcome the challenges that arise when new products are introduced. The assembly workstations, once designed, remain largely unchanged throughout the lifecycle of their corresponding product models. Consequently, the level of flexibility in production is strongly restricted by the physically fixed arrangement of resources. A static workstation is easier to maintain, manage and plan, but it lacks the necessary flexibility for smaller product series. In addition, product life cycles are further shortened by design changes, customer requests or process changes, conflicting with the rigid workstation approach. A common problem is that little or no design methodologies exist for assembly workstations, let alone ones that incorporate the necessary level of flexibility. It is important to note that, although the level of automation is constantly increasing, the human operator still has a key role in (future) flexible assembly workstations, especially in a high variety, low volume context, as no machine is as adaptable as a human operator. However, while many aspects of assembly workstation design can be captured in mathematical models, it remains a challenge to take human factors into account in the design process. Virtual and Augmented Reality technology (VR/AR) may offer a solution to this problem. Through the introduction of VR/AR technology, an easy-to-use interface and realistic visualizations and simulations, designers and operators can assess and adjust workstation designs before they are physically deployed. Therefore, we propose a framework to support the design and (re)configuration of (hybrid) assembly workstations, incorporating flexibility as a design parameter and making use of VR/AR technologies where applicable.
Period of project : 1/06/2018to31/05/2022

Other projects of Expertise Centre for Digital Media (EDM) :

Details of Expertise Centre for Digital Media (EDM) : back