It is important to underline here that Virtual Engineering is not an option to completely replace Rapid Prototyping technologies in a design validation. While RP technologies still remain the preferred options for direct production of certain customized parts, virtual prototyping as a design idea validation tool is the best option in areas of small-batch production for instance where making physical prototypes or production of patterns and mold is not economical. At the same time, both technologies can supplement each other because virtual prototyping can be used as a means of validation and quality control while RP technologies are used for direct production of parts.
In summary, VE based design lays the foundation of the product data description that can integrate processes involved in a productâs lifecycle and contribute in making the manufacturing system intelligent, smart and cost effective. This demands enabling the computer-based technologies to easily communicate to each other with no or less human intervention. Though some of the technologies in this area are sufficiently matured, there still exists significant research to be done in order to achieve real intelligent processes. As indicated earlier, this can be possible if the product data is completely and correctly built in the CAD model and the smooth transfer of this data to other components in the system is enabled through further research.
Last date updated on July, 2014