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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

100% of the development of a vehicle done in Virtual Reality

ESI Group, participated in the successful development phase of the Nivus produced by Volkswagen do Brazil. The process began before the pandemic and was completed during the COVID-19 period.

ESI group says the Virtual Prototyping and Digital Development time was shortened to just ten months. "The OEM has saved a few million euros in prototype production costs." according to a release by the company.

Usually, during vehicle development, time and physical prototypes are required during the design and assembly preparation phases. The entire concept phase was carried out virtually when creating the VW Nivus. ESI Group provided Volkswagen its IC.IDO software.

Volkswagen engineers shared the software tools between different departments such as product development, operations, and quality. Volkswagen could make informed decisions regarding the car’s conception. It provided the OEM with the opportunity to save time and investment. ESI provides a cost-saving example of the Virtual Prototype Laboratory, with an approximate 65% reduction in costs than previous projects.

Virtual reality also conserves tons of paper, in which specifications for each part of a car were previously detailed. Long before Nivus physically existed, the vehicle was already available digitally in the engineering computers. Considering that building a physical prototype takes 19 weeks, only a single vehicle variant is possible. For this vehicle, nine virtual variants were produced in much less time, which made it possible to anticipate more efficient assembly procedures, reduce the number of processes in the simulations, and avoid errors since all parts were previously tested with digital tools.

"We designed 100% of the Nivus with digital processes using, among others, ESI’s technology without the need to assemble a single physical prototype. In addition, with the drastic reduction of the development time, this solution helps us to integrate all our different teams, from various department (design, engineering, marketing, production, etc) in the same decision-making process. It was a more efficient but also more collaborative process. " explains Francisvaldo Gomes Aires, Prototyping Development Manager at Volkswagen do Brazil.

ESI demonstrated that even when the design phase is impacted, in this case by COVID-19, it is possible to continue with the project, since it is no longer a question of relying solely on physical reality. This opens up the possibility of experiencing the future with digitalization and technology for the project benefit.

“It’s a shift in the industrial production. For the first time, all phases of a car release, before the effective production, has been fully made virtually making the production feasible during Covid-19 time. While allowing Volkswagen to take all its design and manufacturing decisions virtually, we helped them produce faster, cheaper and in a more sustainable way. This was possible due to a strong support of our local Brazilian team and a mutual collaboration between ESI Brazil and Volkswagen do Brazil. We all feel proud to be part of this world-premiere alongside with Volkswagen and its partners.”

Said Andreas Renner, Volkswagen Global Account Manager – ESI Group.

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