Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), refers to the management of all processes taking place throughout a product's life. From inception to manufacturing and design, marketing, use and finally withdrawal from the market, PLM integrates all internal workings related to a particular product. With shorter innovation cycles and increasing difficulties in visualizing complex products, getting them from production units to the end user, and eventually taking responsibility for their disposal, modern PLM requires more than just simple softwares.
VR is supplementing PLM for contemporary organizations through the following functions:
By integrating VR with Computer-aided Design, that is another important and now mature aspect of current manufacturing processes, designers can visualize complex models in real-time, absolutely immersive, stereoscopic 3D. Various product features ranging from aesthetics, acoustics, packaging and the like can all be altered by designers, They can not only create multiple representations after numerous virtual 3D experiments, but also take real-time feedback from their counterparts in overseas divisions to produce the perfect highest quality product. Visionary Render is an application making use of VR for CAD, that supports the new era of engineering.
VR helps firms ensure appropriate functionality of products during the manufacturing phase by allowing designers to test their ergonomics and usability. Through interactive simulations according to real proportions and body measurements, more effective products can be created to increase user productivity and enhance the user experience. Greater safety and easier maintenance can also be ensured by using haptics interface and navigation and manipulation through interactive touch. This also involves work safety during the production process. Thus, designers can determine how user-friendly a product is in terms of its functionality and make necessary adjustments before sending the prototype for full-time production.
Numerous aspects can help make a prototype more cost-effective. For instance, using the right material for construction and knowing how many production steps are crucial so that the rest can be optimized, consolidated with others, or removed from the whole production process altogether. Assembly space can also be efficiently utilized. Furthermore, appropriate methods for transportation and storage of the product, based on factors like its weight and shelf life, can also be established using realistic VR modeling techniques. Consequently, valuable prototypes can be generated in much lesser time and substantially lower costs than constructing actual tangible models.
The concept of circular economy can be easily implemented by big and small corporations alike, by using VR in PLM. VR allows them to envision the whole life of a product, including its sustainable use and disposal. It can assist firms in withdrawing their products from the market and reusing or recycling them to ensure sustainability in its activities.
Data Management Functions
Another important application of VR in PLM is data and information management, i.e. PIM and PDM. These two systems complement each other and PLM as the former addresses marketing demands with regard to the product information, while the latter plays its role in the manufacturing of a product by seamlessly managing huge CAD files and other engineering data and instructions.
In addition, Engineering 4.0 demands phase-oriented models and feedback from experts of different fields. VR facilitates this information exchange among different departments and stakeholders through a collaborative multi-user platform, ensuring that the actual product succeeds based on the contributions received for the digital mock-up.
To conclude, the once cost-prohibitive VR technology is now within the reach of almost all SMEs. Moreover, advantages like convenient collaboration among various departments and professionals, and shorter cycles of iteration for more cost-effective prototypes promise that the return on investment in this leading technology will be worth it. We hope that you are next to deploy our software and start reaping the rewards! :)
For more information on how to get started with VR in PLM, feel free to download our whitepaper on the subject.