Entering a very simulating new era
By virtual reality we mean multimedia systems allowing people to be immersed in a computer-managed 3D environment, projected on a screen, or via special helmets such as the Oculus Rift, well known to the general public. The feeling of immersion is further increased by the user’s ability to interact with this environment, not only through visual and auditory stimuli, but also haptic stimuli, meaning touch and force feedback. In the industrial sector, these technologies are now being applied at different stages, enabling us to accurately anticipate future conditions, from product and ergonomic workstation design, to operator training.
€300,000 savings generated by Safran Nacelles’ virtual reality room, paying back its investment in less than a year
Innovation in action at Safran
The Safran Nacelles plant in Le Havre is the Group’s pioneer in virtual reality. At the start of the Airbus A330neo program, for instance, the expected quick ramp-up led to the use of virtual reality, enabling the company to develop new nacelles in just 42 months (versus 60 for the A320neo nacelles). Likewise, cIn addition, computer modeling of the new production line, in conjunction with its future operators, led to a 10% reduction in the tooling budget, by optimizing its organization before construction. Safran Nacelles is now in the process of deploying this approach at all plants, in France and worldwide.
This type of digitization is set to explode at Safran, with the planned installation of virtual reality systems at all plants, opening doors to new ways of working together. Other Safran companies are already leveraging digital capabilities. For example, Safran Aircraft Engines has started to use virtual reality to simulate the programming of robots and cobots, to show operators the design of future assembly and machining stations, and approve them jointly.
Developed with French specialist ESI, Safran Nacelles’ virtual reality room comprises two screens measuring 4 meters wide by 2.5 meters high (about 13 x 8 ft), one set up horizontally at floor level to facilitate the immersion of engineers, technicians and operators. Wearing 3D viewing goggles, which adapt the display according to their position, users can see full-size parts designed with CAD software, or work on ergonomics and positions using virtual mannequins.
© Adrien Daste / Safran
© Philippe Stroppa / Safran
© Adrien Daste / Safran