Haptic-enabled virtual planning and assessment of product assembly

Gallegos-Nieto, Enrique and Medellin-Castillo, H. I. and Yan, Xiu-Tian and Corney, Jonathan (2020) Haptic-enabled virtual planning and assessment of product assembly. Assembly Automation, 40 (4). pp. 641-654. ISSN 0144-5154 (https://doi.org/10.1108/AA-10-2019-0169)

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Purpose: This study aims to present a new haptic-enabled virtual assembly system for the automatic generation and objective assessment of assembly plans. The system is intended to be used as an assembly planning tool along the product development process. Design/methodology/approach: The generation of product assembly plans is based on the analysis of the assembly movements and operations performed by the user during the virtual assembly execution, and the objective assessment of product assembly is based on the definition and computation of new proposed assembly metrics. Findings: To evaluate the system, a case study corresponding to the assembly of a mechanical component is presented and analyzed. The results demonstrate that the proposed system is an effective tool to plan and evaluate different product assembly strategies in a more practical and objective approach than existing assembly planning methods. Research limitations/implications: Although the virtual assembly execution time is larger than the real assembly execution time, the assembly planning and evaluation results provided by the system are valid. However, the development of higher performance collision detection algorithms is needed to reduce the simulation time. Originality/value: The proposed virtual assembly system is able to not only simulate and automatically generate assembly plans but also objectively assess them from the virtual assembly task execution. The introduction and use of several assembly performance metrics to objectively evaluate assembly strategies in virtual assembly also represents a novel contribution.