LEYLAND Trucks’ prototypes now roll off the production line designed entirely with the use of advanced simulation and Virtual Reality (VR). Leyland’s design team is responsible for the design of both the DAF LF and Foden range of trucks. Previously, like most in their industry, the Leyland Design Team built physical mock-ups of trucks it was designing. This was to ensure the parts fitted together as the designers intended and to be certain there were the requisite clearances during the manufacturing process.
What They Wanted
Ian Cure, Leyland’s CAD System Manager, explained: “We were using PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER, but we needed to do more than just model. We wanted to see a whole vehicle on the screen, and be able to move around it to discuss particular design issues, as we would have done using the traditional physical mock-up approach. Converting the ProEngineer data into PTC’s MockUp meant that suddenly everything became easy to manipulate and visualise. An added bonus of using MockUp, was that one also had the ability to work in true 3D mode.”
The change from physical static build to VR stage-by-stage build was radical for Leyland Trucks. Two days before the new truck variants were scheduled to go down the production line, workers from the shop floor were shown the model and taken through the 40 stage manufacturing process. This familiarised them with the new parts and their new roles in a single session.
Doug Holmes, the Lead Engineer of Leyland’s Configuration Group, said: “Even though we employed a full-time engineer to keep the physical model as up-to-date as possible, there was necessarily a lag between when the changes were made and when we could see the implications of those changes.”
Doug continued: “Now we have instant feedback. Not only that, but we can share the design with our manufacturing colleagues. All their doubts melted away when they realised that they could see the model, review it and use the MockUp tools to rehearse the various manufacturing processes. With Virtalis’ help we were able to build up the entire manufacturing process stage by stage. They installed a passive stereo system, which allowed us to carry out design reviews with our manufacturing colleagues weekly. As we were able to work on how the design was to be built at the same time as the design itself, the manufacturing engineers quickly realised the advantages to them and their team on the production line.”
Using VR to link Leyland’s designers with its manufacturing engineers has helped to cut both design rework and time-to-market.
Ian Cure commented: “For our first virtual prototype, everything went smoothly, as everyone knew what to expect. We were even able to drive the first one off the production line.”
Leyland Trucks Website