The dynamic and changing nature of the modern marketplace requires product development engineers to quickly perceive and understand the developed product, including its geometric features and physical characteristics. Virtual reality (VR) technology is capable of constructing a user-centered, three-dimensional environment in which abstract and complex information is visualized in an intuitive and realistic manner, hence becoming an efficacious tool for product realization. However, in most current applications, VR is only used as a visualization tool for showing geometry shapes and engineering analysis results. In this paper, we discuss virtual engineering, which expands the application scope of VR to the integration of virtual product model with analysis, simulation, decision making and other engineering tools into a virtual product realization environment that facilitates multidisciplinary and collaborative product realization among distributed engineers. In this paper, we present the implementation framework of a virtual engineering system and introduce our current work at developing this system. That is, we introduce VE-Suite, an extensible, cross-platform, open source library of tools that enable product realization in a virtual environment. Its functions and capabilities are demonstrated using a virtual fermentation tank used in biotechnology industry. Finally we raise a set of key research questions as a guideline for the further research and realization of virtual engineering.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.