This paper describes an innovative digital approach to optimize turbomachinery manufacturing processes. By adopting virtual and augmented reality technology it is possible to build a digital assembly sequence and make it available to the shop-floor. These digital technologies are changing the way operators interact with 3D digital content and by access to the work instructions having all the info they need in their hands.
Using the engineering 3D CAD structure, the design is validated through simulation in 1:1 scale immersive environment applying virtual reality features such as gravity, kinematics, part collision, surface sliding, parts flexibility. Then manufacturing routing is built defining a 3D Bill of Process and relevant assembly sequence operation by operation, including assembling tooling, work areas and ergonomics validation. Finally, this digital content flows to the shopfloor where the operator can access the digital work instructions through unique interface using virtual or augmented technology and can interact with component 3D model visualizing metadata and BOM codes.
Virtual and Augmented Reality have been successfully applied to produce an innovative aeroderivative gas turbine prototype. Having the opportunity to validate the design in a very detailed way and to define a pre-validated assembly sequence, the assembly process has been speeded up ensuring the on-time delivery and the scraps and rework reduced. The team has been quickly able to re-structure the sequence whenever it was needed to make sure to not stop the production. More than 8000 components have been organized and supplied to the operators exactly per sequence just in time being able to complete the first-time assembly in 8 weeks, as per schedule. The possibility to immediately locate the 3D virtual component using both VR and AR interfaces has enabled fast accessibility check, possible errors detection and improved quality. Component codes embedded in the 3D model have allowed an immediate identification of the real parts needed for the assembly while navigating the digital structure ensuring the product completeness. This digital approach has also changed the way of training the operators (10+) by reproducing complex operation sequence in a consequence free virtual environment improving safety of our operators and products.
By focusing on the importance of 3D native data (attributes and product manufacturing information), the new approach of leveraging virtual and augmented reality applications will make possible to access information whenever and wherever needed, empowering the workforce, and democratizing the knowledge. This new approach is also enabling remote solutions, playing a key role in the energy transition challenge and being a game changer for Oil & Gas and Energy industries.