Virtual Interactive Design Reviews at CNH
CASE NEW HOLLAND, a leading agricultural and construction equipment company and part of the Fiat Group, has just taken delivery of an integrated Virtual Reality (VR) system from Virtalis. This is CNH’s first foray into advanced visualisation and its associated technologies. It therefore sought guidance from other parts of the Fiat Group, including CRF, Elasis, Iveco and Fiat Auto and also from Virtalis, one of the world’s leading visualisation companies.
Gennaro Monacelli, Manager at Elasis (an R&D Company within Fiat) takes up the story: “We have been using VR technologies in the vehicle process development for at least 10 years and during that time, we have appreciated the several advantages VR applications give in shortening the product design cycle. Our VR development has always been supported by Virtalis. Owing to our experience in virtual product development, we were asked by CNH to help them introduce these methodologies in their Company. Therefore we built some prototypes of a CNH vehicle using 3D visualisation provided by PTC’s DIVISION MockUp. This enabled the analysis of computational fluid dynamics in an immersive environment (i.e. under hood cooling visualisation). We also created virtual ergonomics and assembly analysis demonstrations of this new vehicle. These demos helped CNH’s managers to better understand the potentialities of VR technologies in their product development process. Following Elasis’s recommendation, CNH selected Virtalis as the technical partner for the system’s integration. This project has really been a combination of all the parties’ expertise.”
Virtalis has created a system for CNH around an NVIS nVisor SX Head Mounted Display (HMD), an Intersense IS900 tracking system and a Cyberglove. These are all driven by PTC’s DIVISION MockUp software. Although CNH has only just taken delivery of its new VR system, the learning curve has been steep. The CNH team agrees that its new capability has already improved communication, as senior managers have been able to give their design input at an earlier stage. Their first VR project has been a design review of a construction equipment skid-steer that is due to be launched in a couple of years. Already it is estimated that the review, which encompassed visibility, styling, and reachability, has shaved months off a programme.
CNH is also reviewing concept tractor models using the system. Venu Chiratanagandla, Project Engineer of Digital Prototyping and Simulation (DP&S) at CNH explained: “From the beginning we wanted this to be an efficient engineering tool that anyone can use. By keeping it simple, I believe we have a system that can deliver results to engineers in hours rather than days. Our decision to choose Virtalis as our supplier and system integrator appears to have paid off too. Their excellent, long-term customer support is a known quantity, thanks to the Elasis link, and they have vast experience with the software, as well as deep knowledge to guide us in the hardware arena for the foreseeable future.”
Kezhun Li, Manager of DP&S at CNH, commented: “We are proud to report that we are using our new system to its fullest extent. We are using the tracking system for interactive design reviews and design concept evaluations. Our HMD is proving invaluable for cab visibility tests, while we are using our Cyberglove for reachability studies. All three pieces of the kit work together reliably and in many combinations. The integration is seamless and the whole system was reasonably priced.”
Next year, the CNH team expects to develop its VR capability yet further with the creation of a virtual model boasting real life elements, such as a seat and controls.
CNH Website: http://www.cnh.com