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Concept for a virtual learning factory

Langen, F.N. van (2017) Concept for a virtual learning factory.

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Abstract:The world is digitising more and more. That results in the virtualisation of product and factory planning and the digitisation of the actual production processes [1]. On behalf of the Department of Industrial Design at the University of Twente, research on a recommendation for a portable virtual learning is executed. With their expertise in the field of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, this university has plenty of tools available further develop, implement and use this concept. The relevance of this research is that there is not much literature available on virtual learning factories. Especially not with the focus on two-way communication. With this principle of two-way communication, the virtual learning factory does not only create a connection between a digital model and a workshop or machine, but it also learns from its user and can adapt. Therefore, there are many possibilities for implementation. The social importance is that the concept for a virtual learning factory contributes to making the use of existing workshops safer and faster and new virtual learning factories cheaper and easier to set up. Within this assignment, literature research is done on digital twins and learning factories, after which those terms are used to create a definition of a virtual learning factory. After that, with scenarios, an impression is given of the diversity of possibilities on what can be implemented into the virtual learning factory and opportunities for usage. With those scenarios in combination with the result of two interviews the goal of the virtual learning factory for a case study at the University of Twente is presented. Then there is described how a general information architecture is created that can be implemented in the proof of concept. This proof of concept, made in the game development platform Unity, shows what a virtual learning factory can look like and how features can be adjusted depending on the user. All of this results in a detailed description of the possibilities of implementing a virtual learning factory. The result of the literature research are requirements, to define further what a learning factory should consist of to be called a virtual learning factory. Those requirements are: 1) a virtual production environment that has a purposeful relation to a production environment in real space. 2) Multiple aspects of a production process can be simulated in the virtual learning factory. 3) Changing the layout and function of this virtual environment is easily possible. 4) The connection between the virtual and real environment allows for real-time optimisation and ‘what-if’ analyses. 5) The virtual learning factory can provide its users with information and learn from its users. The focus is on two-way communication, in which the user learns from the virtual learning factory and the virtual learning factory learns from its user and can adapt. Emphasis is placed on this because the literature study shows that the principle of implementing twoway communication is not mentioned at any of the learning factories of the researched literature. They only provide one-way communication: to the user, not from the user to the learning factory. Nevertheless, this is an interesting aspect that can make the virtual learning factory distinctive from others. Within the architecture five labels are presented, ‘Machine Capabilities’, ‘Basics’, ‘Risks’, ‘Profound information’ and a blank category. Those labels are used for a general information architecture, that can be used to categorise information available on different machines and workshops. These labels are implemented in the proof of concept, which shows what a virtual learning factory can look like and how features can be adjusted depending on the user. All of this results in a detailed description of the possibilities of implementing a virtual learning factory. The focus is on two-way communication which is an addition to existing theories, but more research on this topic can be done. An important recommendation is to research the usage and costs of existing learning factories. With that information, a better picture can be given of where improvements can be achieved and how costs can be saved with the use of a virtual learning factory. Furthermore, the outlined scenarios must be further elaborated and validated. To conclude, it is important to extend the research by further analysing what information is essential to collect and how the virtual learning factory should make decisions based on this information. This knowledge then can be combined to accelerate and improve the usage of virtual learning factories all over the world. Reference list 1. Grieves, M. and J. Vickers, Digital twin: Mitigating unpredictable, undesirable emergent behavior in complex systems, in Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Complex Systems. 2017, Springer. p. 85-113.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:21 art forms
Programme:Industrial Design BSc (56955)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/73853
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