"We created interactive and immersive digital models to test the assembly steps for a car or an engine before the launch. A virtual assembly line, identical to the real one, is created, allowing us to validate the equipment and map movements, posture and visual field of the operators in the execution of the activities, as in the assembly of a headlight, for instance ", completes Baier. The IC.IDO, from the French supplier ESI, is one of the virtual reality softwares used by FCA teams. The pronunciation is "I see, I do". The suggestive name goes along with the idea of breaking physical barriers to go after solutions, taking advantage of the infinite potentialities of the digital environment.
At the Fiat Automotive Plant in Betim, the virtual reality room that houses the IC.IDO is located at the Manufacturing 2020 – a laboratory created to test new Industry 4.0 technologies and considered a cutting-edge structure in at FCA. In order to create interactive and immersive digital models, 3D glasses, joysticks, projection screen and two cameras, are the tools used. "We can use sensors in a variety of ways, such as 'picking up' parts in the virtual environment or even tracking physical components to validate processes," says Baier.
Installed in 2016, the virtual reality room of Manufacturing 2020 received around R$ 1 million in investments. This value was recovered in only eight months after its physical installation, because it avoided adjustments in the assembly line, which justifies the bet. "With virtual reality, we increase the quality of our products", says Baier. He argues that the advantages of the technology are significant, including the search for solutions for better ergonomics and comfort of the operators, because all of the movements and displacements done by the employee in the productive line are tested.
Among the advantages of the tool, we also highlight the collaborative simulation. In virtual reality rooms, professionals from different areas are gathered, integrating Product Engineering and Manufacturing Engineering to identify opportunities for improvement, either directly in the product or in the production process. Check out the video below on the use of virtual reality in Manufacturing 2020 in Betim: