Abstract

As markets become increasingly competitive and customers more demanding, virtual verification has become an important tool for cutting costs and shortening lead-times. So far, the main focus area for Virtual Reality (VR) tools has been to extend and support concurrent engineering between manufacturing and design in early stages of the development process. Today, when a styling concept of a product is evaluated in an aesthetic manner, all models used are nominal. If the styling concept is evaluated with nominal models, variation aspects and design solutions that would greatly influence the overall quality appearance will not be discovered until the first test series are made. By using non-nominal models during the design process, important geometric aspects can be issued, and the need for physical test series can be reduced.

In the automotive industry, especially within body design, the relations between doors, hoods, fenders and other panels are critical. Today, the quality appearance (QA) of vehicles is judged by these relations.

This paper describes how virtual reality technique is used to define a weight system for different prominent areas of a product when evaluating the quality appearance with QA index. It will also discuss how combining traditional Computer Aided Tolerance (CAT) tools with modern virtual reality tools has the potential to enhance concurrency between styling and design and provide more powerful support for the geometry process in early phases. Traditional non-nominal verification can then already be conducted in the concept phase using digital models instead of physical ones.

In the paper, today’s geometry design process at an automotive company is described. An example of the rear end of a vehicle is used to illustrate how integrated CAT/VR tools can be used to support decision making when allocating weights fore the quality appearance index.

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