Airbus virtual reality simulator

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 25 September 2009



(2009), "Airbus virtual reality simulator", Assembly Automation, Vol. 29 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Airbus virtual reality simulator

Article Type: Mini features From: Assembly Automation, Volume 29, Issue 4

AIRBUS in Broughton, Flintshire has just taken delivery of a complete Virtalis StereoWorks VR suite (Figure 1). The top of the range system comprises a 3D stereo, dual channel, Christie projection system with Intersense head and hand tracking and a heavy duty, Haption, 6 DOF, force feedback system. The StereoWorks system has been procured to assist in the validation of methods and process improvements of composites manufacturing required for the new A350XWB aircraft.

 Figure 1 The Virtalis StereoWorks VR suite recently delivered to Airbus

Figure 1 The Virtalis StereoWorks VR suite recently delivered to Airbus

Geoff Tantum, Airbus UK's engineering group leader for simulation, explained: “We'd been looking at VR technology for some time. It was the combination of our Dassault Systèmes PLM software gaining integral VR enablement and the formation of a dedicated simulation team here that galvanised us. We wanted a system that would take our CATIA and DELMIA PLM data and turn it into a 3D VR model automatically, without any need for translation. We also wanted a system that would link into a high end haptics system, allowing VR to become an integral, day to day tool for our manufacturing engineers.”

Airbus worked with Dassault Systèmes to find a supplier capable of designing and installing a turnkey system that would integrate seamlessly and transparently with the current V5 PLM and future V6 PLM environments. Manchester-based Virtalis, Europe's largest VR Company, was a clear front runner and was chosen for its ability to create a seamless whole from multiple pieces of hardware and software.

“We explained to the Virtalis consultancy team exactly what we wanted to achieve and gave them details, like the size of our room, then left the specifics to them”, said Geoff. “The choice of Haption was also clear, as this is the haptics system already in use by our colleagues in France for design engineering. Fortunately, Virtalis is also Haption's UK reseller, so they already have lots of experience in integrating Haption into their installations. We are the first part of Airbus that is using VR technology for manufacturing and we are currently in the testing phase. Our aim is to push the technology to its limits and, in so doing, we are tapping into both Dassault's and Virtalis' expertise.”

For further information, please visit the Airbus web site:

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