More and more manufacturers are implementing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tools. The global market is expected to grow by 8.5% per year until 2030 according to research firm Grandview Research.
But the links between PLM tools and immersive tools (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality) can malfunction. Fortunately, the xR-BOM tree fixes this problem.
Explanations by Sébastien Vannet / Enterprise Architect within Capgemini’s Center of Expertise Digital Manufacturing.
Sébastien, according to LinkedIn, you have 24 years of experience in Digital Manufacturing. So I guess you can tell us the meaning of xR-BOM?
BOM stands for Bill of Materials, in French List of Elements. It is a tree structure, a data structure that manufacturers use to design their products, manufacture them and manage the associated services. We talk about MBOM, SBOM, etc. I invite you to read the article by my colleague Cyrille Greffe to find out more.
xR stands for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.
Can you illustrate?
Imagine the blade of an aircraft engine.
When Marcel Dassault designs the plans for the Ouragan, the first jet plane of the French army, he uses a drawing board and his pen.
When Dassault engineers developed the Mirage in the 1980s, they used computer-aided design software. But the model of the blade remains in two dimensions. Engineers in the design department should print the diagram to discuss with their colleagues in the production department and the suppliers. The 2D model constitutes a more or less fixed contractual element.
Today the engineers who work on the Air Combat System of the Future immerse themselves in a virtual environment. With tools like Catia or Créo, they can modify the 3D model of the blade. And The tool immediately transmits the data to all the actors. With the extended enterprise, meetings between the design, production and supplier departments produce far more results than in the days of Marcel Dassault’s paper / pen!
It is easily pictured. But still ?
We can make life easier for the technician responsible for mounting the blade or keeping it in good condition. We equip it with augmented reality glasses and we show it the assembly or maintenance instructions.
But that requires structuring the data in order to be able to exchange them between the various IT tools: the Product Life cycle Management (PLM) tools to develop the blade, the Manufacturing Execution System (MES) tools to carry it out and the Service Life tools. Management (SLM) cycle to maintain or recycle it. This is the role of the xR-BOM tree. We are talking about digital continuity.
The interest seems considerable! Are there any technical constraints?
The 3D model needs to be simplified.
In video games, if you want to avoid freezing, you have to respect a minimum level of performance. It’s the same thing there.
Imagine working at Dassault as a mechanical engineer. We participate in a meeting in 3D. We wear a virtual reality headset. We simulate the installation of a complete engine on the right wing of a Falcon. The internal elements of the engine / the blades / the chambers are of no use to us. They can therefore be deleted from the 3D model without consequence for the purpose of the meeting.
The problem is that currently this simplification is done by hand. So we’re wasting time.
And why don’t we use a kind of “zip” to reduce the size of the 3D model?
You can reduce the size of the 3D model via faceting.
Take photography. A photo taken with a good camera weighs about ten megabytes. On my computer, I can easily reduce the size of this file to a hundred kilobytes by compressing it in JPEG format. I can modify and transfer it and all the details remain visible. Faceting works the same way. The model is compressed but it remains usable by the engineers.
The simplification and compression of the 3D model also helps protect know-how and avoid copies. When engineers from Dassault’s design department discuss with their colleagues from the production department, the risk is minimal, they can use a model that contains all the data. But when the model leaves the company, it is better to protect it to avoid reverse engineering.
I would point out that reverse engineering consists of reconstructing the manufacturing process of a product using the finished product. How can manufacturers reduce the risk? Do we stick 3D tape on the model?
There not certain that the engineer can use it as well! In fact, we simplify them. I take the example of a specification written with Word. I want to send the specifications to a supplier. But I don’t want him to be able to modify it. I can put it in JPEG. My supplier will be able to read my specifications with the information in bold and preservation of the formatting. However, he will not be able to copy and paste the text that I have written. He won’t be able to edit my text either. Same operation for 3D models.
So the engineer can send the 3D model of the blade to his supplier without risk. The supplier will not be able to find the exact dimensions of the blade and will therefore not be able to copy it. But can the supplier send annotations or changes he made to the blade back to the engineer?
Absolutely. This is called feedback loop management. When defining the data structure, all you have to do is provide a path to manage the data that returns to the tools that generated the data. Because it must be understood that the engineers and technicians who work on virtual models use two tools: the tools of Product Life cycle Management (PLM) which are used to produce the data. And the tools used to visualize them in virtual reality or augmented reality. It is necessary to create a link between the two so that the model is always up to date.
Moreover, having an efficient link will become increasingly important as the metaverse develops and uses expand. The digital model of Nike sneakers displayed in the metaverse is subject to the same questions of structuring and simplification of data as the blade of a jet engine.
Ok, so let’s suppose that our technician equipped with augmented reality glasses validates a new gesture to mount the blade on the wing, he can “declare” it. And his tool will transmit it to the PLM tool used by the engineer. And how can Capgemini help a manufacturer to structure its data and simplify it?
Capgemini and more specifically Package-Based Solution (PBS) can help manufacturers from the start to the end of their project. In particular to define the use cases, to identify the best tool and to integrate the selected tool into the industrial information system. PBS can also support manufacturers in adopting the tool by communicating with future users and training them. Read on this subject the excellent article by my colleague Camille Meslés on digital adoption platforms.
Sebastien VannetEnterprise Architect in the Center of Expertise Digital
Manufacturing at Capgemini
Colas-DupasInnovation and transformation project manager at Capgemini
We wish to give thanks to the author of this article for this outstanding content
xR-BOM tree structure: the link between PLM and immersive content! – SOCIAL IT
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