|By using a digital model for testing and design evaluation in a virtual computational environment, the Virtual Engineering concept is expected to improve some of the shortcomings of current RP technologies. This is because the concept allows getting the physical âfeelingâ in virtual environment and errors can be detected before high costs are committed. Design iteration on the digital model is cheap and the design optimization is done within shorter time because the number of design iterations using physical models, including those produced by RP technologies is significantly reduced. Most of all, visualization using VE concept is an effective way to create real scenarios that facilitate effective communication of design idea.
It is important to underline here that VE is not an option to completely replace RP 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.