Movomech International AB delivers production solutions to several of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers and line builders, and is often faced with the challenge of finding the most efficient and ergonomic solutions to complex production problems. In addition to stringent demands on safety and productivity, the focus is also on optimising assemblers’ working environments and movement patterns.
Lean production systematics with continuous improvements, along with new vehicle variants to be integrated into production, put companies in the automotive industry at the forefront of development of digital simulation tools – not only in optimising material flows and productivity, but also in shortening development times for new models and components.
Where 15 years ago there were physical prototypes for bodywork, details and transport racks even during the early phases of projects, there are now only CAD models. This places high demands on Movomech International and other system suppliers to conduct virtual simulations and assessments of production solutions before these solutions physically exist.
The simulation software IMMA (Fraunhofer Chalmers Research Centre)
Also important ergonomic factors can now be evaluated at an early stage in projects. IMMA1 – Intelligently Moving Mannequins – is a simulation application for optimising assembly ergonomics developed by, among others, Volvo, Scania and the Fraunhofer-Chalmers Centre.
The program combines the latest advances in ergonomics research with advanced mathematical modelling to provide automotive assemblers with a better working environment. Virtual assemblers can already install seats and centre console units using Mechspace Pro.
With the help of IMMA, assemblers’ working postures can be planned to determine an efficient assembly procedure that is also easy on the body. IMMA is not only capable of showing the strain produced by various assembly tasks, it also suggests optimal solutions. The virtual human, or mannequin as it is called, retrieves a movement pattern from the program’s database. This enables assessment of how the body reacts to specific movements before a production method is put into use.
In a subsequent project, IMMA is connected to an actual factory environment using point cloud technology, which can scan a factory environment and then create a very realistic 3D representation.
More information about the IMMA project is available here.
1 The IPS (Industrial Path Solutions) software was implemented almost 10 years ago by the FCC (Fraunhofer – Chalmers Research Centre) and is presently used by more than 60 companies worldwide. IPS is a mathematically based program for automatic verification of ease of assembly, design of flexible components, movement planning and optimisation of multi-robot stations, as well as simulation of surface treatment processes. The IMMA application is an add-in for IPS.