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Oct 13, 2011

Automatic Path Planner for Manikin used by BMW Group

Kineo CAM the leading software components provider for collision detection and automatic path planning announced in June the availability of its software component to assess and validate the feasibility of a human task.

BMW – Virtual Prototype Division has chosen Kineo CAM’s solution to automatically compute collision-free human tasks; because the most valuable asset of any company is its workforce, and employees' health should therefore always be at the heart of workplace design. BMW Group uses computer simulations to enable early and exact planning of assembly tasks. The core aim of computer-aided ergonomic analyses is the reduction of physical effort during the assembly work.

To enable production processes to be planned as early as possible and avoid errors in workplace design that would otherwise result in high costs, BMW Virtual Prototype division dedicates itself to optimizing work procedures and assembly tasks by validating component integration processes. For this they carry out a wide range of feasibility studies throughout the development cycle of a vehicle.

A critical point here is the human task operations, the validation of visibility and accessibility in different assembly scenarios, respecting kinematic constraint of human. The ability to document the results with high quality simulations for effective communication purposes is therefore one of the challenges of a successful prototype development study.

Before working with Kineo Human Path Planner, the virtual prototype division used to manually search for the collision-free human task by moving the component with the manikin along a desired assembly path within a 3D digital mock-up session. Beyond the time required to complete the assembly study, a greater challenge in the process was to identify and communicate precise information (when mounting/dismounting was not feasible) which would lead to the issue resolution.

Today, with Kineo Human Path Planner, the virtual prototype division of BMW simply selects the geometry, specifies the human kinematic constraints and the human task, and launches Human Path Planner which assesses automatically a collision-free human task or human activity group, transforming in extremely short time a colliding human task into a new collision-free human task.

The main benefits of using Kineo Human Path Planner for the studies in the virtual prototype division are:

Evaluation of visibility, accessibility and restrictions of the human body during disassembly operations
A safer global Design process: Thanks to unmatched performance, computational times are so short that it is possible to increase the number of case studies resulting in an improved process validation
Confidence in results is high in all cases due to the ease and speed with which it is possible to re-run the solution with differing tolerances/obstacles allowing different scenarios to be assessed
Repeat studies are speeded up with the re-use of the previous path
Different users achieve very similar results