The development of a physics and constraint-based haptic virtual assembly system

Germanico Gonzalez-Badillo (Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico)
Hugo Medellin-Castillo (Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, San Luis Potosí, Mexico)
Theodore Lim (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
James Ritchie (School of Eng and Phys Sciences, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK)
Samir Garbaya (Institut Image, Arts et Metiers ParisTech, Chalon sur Saone, France)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Publication date: 28 January 2014



This paper aims to report the development and key features of a novel virtual reality system for assembly planning and evaluation called Haptic Assembly and Manufacturing System (HAMS). The system is intended to be used as a tool for training, design analysis and path planning.


The proposed system uses the physics-based modelling (PBM) to perform assemblies in virtual environments. Moreover, dynamic assembly constrains have been considered to reduce the degrees of freedom of virtual objects and enhance the virtual assembly performance.


To evaluate the effectiveness and performance of HAMS, the assembly of various mechanical components has been carried out, and the results have shown that it can be effectively used to simulate, evaluate, plan and automatically formalise the assembly of complex models in a more natural and intuitive way.

Research limitations/implications

The collision detection performance is the bottleneck in any virtual assembly system. New methods of collision shape representation and collision detection algorithms must be considered.


HAMS introduces the use of dynamic assembly constraints to enhance the virtual assembly performance. HAMS also uses features not yet reported by similar systems in the literature. These features include: automatic or manual definition of assembly constraints within the virtual assembly system; the implementation of control panels and widgets to modify simulation parameters during running time to evaluate its influence on simulation performance; assembly data logging such as trajectories, forces and update rates for post-processing, further analysis or its presentation in the form of chronocyclegraphs to graphically analyse the assembly process.



Gonzalez-Badillo, G., Medellin-Castillo, H., Lim, T., Ritchie, J. and Garbaya, S. (2014), "The development of a physics and constraint-based haptic virtual assembly system", Assembly Automation, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 41-55.

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