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Li, Qiang
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Due to today's heavy, growing competition environment, manufacturing companies have to develop and employ new emerging technologies to increase productivity, reduce production costs, improve product quality, and shorten lead time. The domain of Virtual Reality (VR) has gained great attention during the past few years and is currently explored for practical uses in various industrial areas e.g. CAD, CAM, CAE, CIM, CAPP and computer simulation etc. Owing to the trend towards reducing lead time and human effort devoted to fixtureplanning, the computerization of fixture design is required. Consequently, computer aided fixture design (CAFD) has become an important role of computer aided design/manufacture (CAD/CAM integration. However, there is very little ongoing research specially focused on using the VR technology as a promising solution to enhance CAFD systems' capability and functionality. This thesis reviews the possibility of using interactive Virtual Reality (VR) technology to support the conventional fixture design and assembly process. The trend that the use of VR benefits to fulfil the optimization of fixture design and assembly in VE has been identified and investigated. The primary objectives were to develop an interactive VR system entitled Virtual Reality Fixture Design & Assembly System (VFDAS), which will allow fixture designers to complete the entire design process for modular fixtures within the Virtual Environment (VE) for instance: Fixture element selection, fixture layout design, assembly, analysis and so on. The main advantage of VFDAS is that the VR system has the capability of simulating the various physical behaviours for virtual fixture elements according to Newtonian physical laws, which will be taken into account throughout the fixture design and evaluation process. For example: gravity, friction, collision detection, mass, applied force, reaction force and elasticity. Almost the whole fixture design and assembly process is achieved as if in the real physics world, and this provides a promise for computer aided fixture design (CAFD) in the future. The VFDAS system was validated in terms of the collision detection, rendering speed, friction, mass, gravity, applied force, elasticity and toppling. These simulation results are presented and quantified by a series of simple examples to show what the system can achieve and what the limitations are. The research concluded VR is a useful technology and VFDAS has potential to support education and application for fixture design. There is scope for further development to add more useful functionality to the VFDAS system.
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