November 24, 2008
Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Optimizes Digital Human-Product Interactions
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| by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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PTC announced the launch of Pro/ENGINEER Manikin, a 3D digital human modeling solution that enables design teams to add a digital human model to a CAD product model to simulate and communicate human-product interactions. Two new modules, Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Extension and Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Analysis Extension, provide ergonomic and human factors analysis capabilities for customers of Pro/ENGINEER, PTC’s parametric 3D CAD/CAM/CAE software and a key component of the PTC Product Development System. By accelerating detailed design processes and reducing the need for expensive physical prototypes, Pro/ENGINEER Manikin helps customers create innovative, winning products with faster
time-to-market, improved quality and reduced costs.
“PTC’s new manikin software is notable for its tight integration with Pro/ENGINEER. Pro/ENGINEER Manikin brings digital human visualization and simulation to the engineer’s desktop within the CAD user interface and without the need for the engineer to be a human factors expert,” said John MacKrell, senior analyst, CIMdata. “This is a very impressive first step for PTC for supporting a human-centric design approach. Pro/ENGINEER Manikin will enable customers to better optimize their products for the people who will use, manufacture and maintain them.”
Pro/ENGINEER Manikin, the industry’s first ISO standards-based solution, provides comprehensive, easy-to-use, capabilities to simulate and communicate human-product interactions for a global population. Highlights of Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Extension and Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Analysis Extension include:
Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Extension
Quickly insert, customize, and manipulate accurate, standards-based 3D human models
Create human reach envelopes and vision cones to understand what limitations may exist in a design
Gain a first-person perspective of a product and “see” what the manikin can “see”
Accelerate design by leveraging libraries of global populations and manikin postures
Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Analysis Extension
Simulate, communicate and optimize manual handling tasks by validating them against published standards and guidelines
Ensure conformance with health and safety guidelines and ergonomic standards. Includes standard algorithms for analyzing workplace tasks including lifting and lowering (NIOSH 81/91), pulling and pushing (Snook), energy expenditure (GARG), and posture (RULA)
Analyze designs faster with simplified workflows to posture the manikin and reuse saved postures and analysis settings
Leverage advanced reporting capabilities of analysis results earlier in the development process to deliver products designed and optimized for humans in less time
Additionally, beginning in December 2008, basic manikin capabilities that enable users to insert a pre-defined manikin into a CAD model and easily manipulate the posture to gain an understanding of how a human would fit or interact with a proposed design will be included in all Pro/ENGINEER packages at no additional charge for those customers on the latest maintenance release of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0.
“The new capabilities introduced in Pro/ENGINEER Manikin will dramatically improve our ability to design innovative products for our customers. These same features are also applicable to considerations for improvements in the manufacture, assembly and service of our products. The vision cones, reach envelopes and other human factors analysis capabilities provide valuable insight earlier in the product design and development process,” states Patrick Hodgins, chief engineer, Callaway Cars. “The seamless integration with Pro/ENGINEER and ease of use will also help accelerate adoption of the product. These new modules will enable our company to reduce time-to-market and decrease
physical prototyping costs.”
“Having the capability to perform human-product interactions early in the development cycle supports innovation and helps optimize the design process,” said Michael Campbell, senior vice president, product management, PTC. “Allowing design engineers to know how a customer will physically interact with a product during the design process enables them to design products that will be optimized for their target audience. This technology enables customers to create safer, more comfortable and more usable products, while at the same time reduce the typical, costs associated with prototyping. Pro/ENGINEER Manikin underscores PTC’s ongoing commitment to delivering superior technology
and value to our customers.”
Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Extension, Pro/ENGINEER Manikin Analysis Extension and free, basic manikin capabilities available to all customers on the latest release of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 and later are expected to be available in December 2008 in English, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Italian and Simplified and Traditional Chinese.
Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor
With the current state of the manufacturing economy, human factors and ergonomics seem to have taken a back seat to other productivity, profit-making, and survival issues, but they are vitally important, nonetheless, and PTC has taken it to heart with Pro/ENGINEER Manikin.
With so much human capital available these days you might ask, “Why use digital humans?” The same question could also be posed about robotics, but that’s another topic for another day. Digital humans are used to study man-machine interaction and can refer to the control of machines in general using devices like a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or a button on a production machine.
Ergonomics is concerned with designing according to human needs, and the discipline applies theory, principles, data, and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and system performance. Ergonomic research studies human capabilities and relationships to work demands. Information derived from these studies contributes to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments, and systems to make them compatible with the needs, abilities, and limitations of people.
The five generally accepted areas of ergonomics include safety, comfort, ease of use, productivity/performance, and aesthetics. Based on these ergonomic areas, products or systems can benefit from initial design or redesign based on ergonomic principles.
Companies in many industries are facing the same problem of the human element not being considered early or thoroughly enough in product design, assembly, and maintenance. This historical lack of consideration is having an increasingly negative impact on product cost, time to market, quality, and safety.
Luckily, though, ergonomics seems to be moving away from a reactive approach, where jobs that cause injuries are modified, to a proactive approach that emphasizes assessing each job for feasibility and safety as a product, workplace, and processes are designed. Some aspects of job design can be reduced to a checklist or a set of numerical criteria, such as maximum lifting weight or a maximum part insertion force. But when the potential problem includes an awkward posture or a difficult reach, a more demanding analysis is necessary. This is exactly where software representations of humans, digital human models, are becoming more widely used to perform the analyses for these more
The largest market and application for digital human models are automotive and aerospace vehicle design. Physical mockups are being replaced with virtual prototypes that are assessed using digital humans as drivers, passengers, production and maintenance personnel. Starting in the 1970s, many of the early human modeling tools were developed by the U.S. military and its contractors for aircraft cockpit design. Since then, automotive manufacturers have extensively used human models as a vital part of the digital design process – concept through production.
Until I saw this announcement by PTC, the “guy” that came to mind whenever I thought about digital humans was Tecnomatix (now a part of Siemens PLM Software) Jack – a digital man (and Jill – a digital woman) – a human modeling and simulation software package for improving the ergonomics of product designs and workplace tasks. With digital humans like Jack and Jill you can:
Build a virtual environment
Create a virtual human
Define a human's size and shape
Position the human in an environment
Assign human tasks
Analyze how a human performs
Digital humans can provide great utility during all phases and aspects of the product development process, including (but not limited to) product design, manufacture, maintenance, and training. During the product design process, human simulation allows you to explore general operation and interaction, positioning and comfort, and visibility. In the manufacturing phase, digital humans let you check out workcell layout, workflow simulation, energy expenditure, physical requirements assessment, and safety analysis. In the maintenance stage of the product lifecycle, human simulation allows you to assess maintenance accessibility, as well as part removal and replacement and the physical and
visual characteristics needed to carry out these tasks. Finally, digital human simulation data can be reused for manufacturing and maintenance training purposes.
For a growing number of companies I see factoring the human element into design, manufacturing, and maintenance as no longer just an afterthought, but as an integral requirement, strategy, and competitive advantage. Companies that have employed digital humans, such as Manikin and Jack are already or will likely realize benefits, such as shorter design time, lower development costs, improved quality, increased productivity, and enhanced safety. All reasons to give digital humans more than a probationary period, and “hire” them on as adjunct “employees.” Digital humans will never replace the real thing, but they can make life on the job easier, safer, and more fulfilling.
Following the publication of the previous edition of
on Autodesk’s recent ECAD acquisition, I made a statement that may have been misinterpreted by some of our readers. We received the following statement from Autodesk that should clarify things. We stand corrected.
“Thanks for your piece on regarding Autodesk's recent ECAD acquisition. There was one statement in your editorial that we'd like to clarify.
[A sentence read] ‘Is Autodesk the first company to move in this direction? No, not exactly - PTC and SolidWorks, for example, are already there, as well.’
This statement implies the recent acquisition of ESCAD was our first move toward mechatronics, following in the footsteps of PTC and DS SolidWorks. In fact, we have been focused on the integration of mechanical and electrical subsystems longer than either of those firms and actually were a pioneer in mechatronics.
While this acquisition bolsters our offering in the area of data-driven methods for controls system design, Autodesk has been focused on the role of Electrical in the mechanical design process for quite some time. Specifically, we started driving the integration with AutoCAD Electrical four years ago, [leading to our focus] on ECAD and current mechatronics capabilities.”
Sr. Public Relations Manager
Manufacturing Solutions Division
The Week’s Top 5
At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.
Dassault Systèmes (DS) announced that Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), the world’s largest consumer goods company, has chosen to implement DS’s ENOVIA solution as its enterprise-wide PLM backbone. P&G also uses 3DVIA, SIMULIA, DELMIA, and SolidWorks. P&G will use a common backbone built on Dassault Systèmes’ V6 technology integrating existing systems to better manage product, packaging and process information. Building on the 16,000 ENOVIA users (12,000 internal and 4,000 external) currently deployed in the Corporate Standards Systems, P&G will implement the ENOVIA Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) Accelerator for Global Specification Management to better manage products spanning
multiple brands and markets.
PTC announced that ViewPlus Technologies, a manufacturer of assistive technologies including Braille printers, has standardized on CoCreate solution. Using CoCreate Modeling, ViewPlus reduced its design process by six months, enabling the company to bring its specialized products to market in less time. Because its primary customers are educational institutions, the product development schedule at ViewPlus is externally driven by the fiscal year of the institutions. Frustrated with its previous 3D CAD solution, which, ViewPlus found difficult to use and severely limited in functionality, the company sought a replacement that would enable it to quickly create 3D CAD models and support
integration with 2D drawings to help accelerate product development. After conducting a comparative benchmark between three competitive solutions, ViewPlus chose CoCreate as its 3D modeling standard, replacing its previous solution.
Dassault Systèmes (DS) announced that Tower Automotive Holding GmbH will soon implement its DELMIA Body-in-White solution to optimize planning and manufacturing processes associated with body and frame construction. The German subsidiary of Tower Automotive develops and produces a wide range of parts employed in the construction of vehicle bodies, including stampings and assemblies for bodies and frames. In the past, any simulation of the sheet metal joining processes has been performed by outside companies using models. From this point on, Tower Automotive plans to run its own simulations using the Body-in-White Metal Structure module on all new and ongoing projects that use complex
manufacturing processes. The objective is to efficiently design, modify, and manufacture components through a more straightforward procedure than has been used thus far. The solution's modular approach allows users to merge different plan segments into their systems at any given time. These partial segments can then be integrated into one complete process later on. In addition to the Metal Structure module, Tower Automotive plans to implement other modules to enhance the independence of its workflow processes so product modifications and manufacturing processes can be validated, simulated, and evaluated directly.
Elmo Solutions announced Agni Link 2009, a live, bidirectional CAD-ERP connector for SolidWorks and Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision), Dynamics AX (Axapta) and other ERP applications. Agni Link is a companion application to SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, and AutoCAD that provides real-time, bidirectional integration with Microsoft Dynamics NAV (Navision) databases. Every time a SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, or AutoCAD document is updated, the user may enter and/or edit data shared between SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor or AutoCAD and Microsoft Dynamics/NAV (Navision) using possible values obtained "live" from Microsoft Dynamics/NAV (Navision). Upon end-user confirmation, data is
updated in both the SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor or AutoCAD document and the Microsoft Dynamics/NAV (Navision) database, thus ensuring perfect synchronization of both data sets and completely eliminating redundant data entry.
PTC congratulated its technology partner, Audi Sport, on its recent win of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) Championship 2008. Audi Sport has used Pro/ENGINEER for almost a decade to develop its A4 DTM engine. This year, to address its heterogeneous CAD data management needs and enable collaboration among its different engineering departments, Audi Sport implemented Windchill. As a result of deploying the PTC Product development System (PDS), Audi Sport has experienced an additional improvement of product quality and process efficiency, realizing a 50 percent increase of evaluated design variants during product development. Audi Sport, the motor sport department of German
premium car manufacturer Audi, develops and tests highly competitive cars for long distance races thereby maintaining a closely reciprocal exchange with Audi’s serial development organization. Audi won the DTM championship for the second consecutive year, however, this year Audi started with a completely new car.
Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
Email Contact or 408.850.9230.
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-- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.