Traditional computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided assembly planning (CAAP) systems are still limited because they do not consider human experience and knowledge capture to support intuitively the assembly planning. Moreover, some aspects such as quality testing, shop floor layout, human ergonomics and physical constraints are not considered during the assembly evaluation. Virtual reality (VR) systems can be used to simulate, analyze and optimize manufacturing processes including assembly. The use of (VR) and haptic systems can improve the efficiency of assembly process planning, evaluation and training.

This paper describes an experiment conducted to investigate the benefits of a haptic aided virtual reality system for assembly training of real assembly tasks. Three groups of individuals with different level of training were considered in the evaluation. The first group received training by the virtual reality system including haptic feedback. The second group also received the same virtual training but without haptic feedback. The third group received no training in the virtual environment. Upon completion of the training, the assembly performance of the three different groups was evaluated by the construction of a real assembly task. The results have shown a significant improvement in the assembly performance of individuals who undertook a virtual training with force feedback, compared with those who did not take training.

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