The Truck that Jack Built: Digital Human Models and their Role in the Design of Work Cells and Product Design 2006-01-2314
Henry Ford is credited with the invention of the assembly line and for 100 years now we have manufactured high quality cars and trucks. The process to bring cars and trucks into production has seen many changes with the introduction of new technology, however the principle is still the same; designers draw concept designs and engineers transform these designs into functional parts. The first time the engineering community has a real feel for the design and process compatibility is at a physical prototype build. The money invested in the designs and prototype parts alone make the thought of a design change this late in the game, unbearable.
The design of the manufacturing process along with product design has embraced virtual tools and digital human models to assess assembly feasibility. The major incentive to utilizing such tools is to reduce costly re-engineering of parts and to decrease prototype costs. Virtual technology allows ergonomists and engineers to perform “virtual builds”. This opens up doors for early ergonomic evaluation on the product design, process and tooling. Digital human models, motion capture technology, and biomechanical evaluations are all critical in performing accurate ergonomic analysis. This paper demonstrates how digital human technology is being utilized every day to drive sound engineering decisions in automotive manufacturing.