AIRBUS in Broughton, Flintshire, recently took delivery of a complete Virtalis ActiveWorks VR suite.
The system is being used to assist in the validation of methods and process improvements of composites manufacturing required for the new A350XWB aircraft.
Why Virtalis Was Chosen
Airbus UK Geoff Tantum, Airbus UK’s Engineering Group Leader for Simulation, explained: “We’d been looking at VR technology for some time. It was the combination of our Dassault Systèmes PLM software gaining integral VR enablement and the formation of a dedicated simulation team here that galvanised us. We wanted a system that would take our CATIA and DELMIA PLM data and turn it into a 3D VR model automatically, without any need for translation. We also wanted a system that would link into a high end haptics system, allowing VR to become an integral, day to day tool for our manufacturing engineers.”
Airbus worked with Dassault Systèmes to find a supplier capable of designing and installing a turnkey system that would integrate seamlessly and transparently with the current V5 PLM and future V6 PLM environments. Manchester-based Virtalis, Europe’s largest VR Company, was a clear front runner and was chosen for its ability to create a seamless whole from multiple pieces of hardware and software.
“We explained to the Virtalis consultancy team exactly what we wanted to achieve and gave them details, like the size of our room, then left the specifics to them”, said Geoff. “The choice of Haption was also clear, as this is the haptics system already in use by our colleagues in France for design engineering. Fortunately, Virtalis is also Haption’s UK reseller, so they already have lots of experience in integrating Haption into their installations. We are the first part of Airbus that is using VR technology for manufacturing and we are currently in the testing phase. Our aim is to push the technology to its limits and, in so doing, we are tapping into both Dassault’s and Virtalis’ expertise.”
What the ActiveWorks System Consists of
The top of the range system comprises a 3D stereo, dual channel, Christie projection system with Intersense head and hand tracking and a heavy duty Haption 6-DOF force feedback system.