A virtual reality lab, the “Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory” (CHIL), from Mechdyne Corp. is helping Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems Co. realize significant manufacturing time and cost savings.
“This exciting new facility allows us to create a design virtually, before we create it physically,” said Jeff Smith, director, Special Projects, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. “This process of working with a design in a virtual stage allows us to improve the affordability of our products and associated processes. It’s changing the way we design and build our products across their entire lifecycle.”
The CHIL, which is located at Lockheed’s headquarters in Littleton, Colo., enables engineers and technicians to validate, test, and understand products and processes virtually, before investing in the costs of creating them physically. The result helps improve every stage of a program, from the concept phase to the operations and sustainment phase. With these technologies the engineers can:
*Identify bottlenecks, collisions, and workflow issues before they happen
*Improve resource use, material flow, and minimize design changes later in the design cycle
*Enhance team collaboration and understanding
When designing the CHIL, Mechdyne engineers integrated a variety of technologies, including: the Mechdyne FLEX™ virtual environment; a motion capture system for up to four users; a portable Mechdyne Rapid Operational Virtual Reality (ROVR™) immersive system that can be easily moved to any Lockheed Martin location, supplier or customer site; technology that enables the ROVR to display or transmit images and simulations and send them to and from the CHIL to other sites for collaborative design reviews; a spherical video camera that collects photos and video to enhance the realism of virtual simulations; and a complete simulation software toolkit that enables translation capabilities for CAD designs.
Lockheed Martin is using the CHIL technologies to improve affordability on a number of programs, including next generation government satellite programs and NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The CHIL can be applied to a range of space systems, including satellites, exploration spacecraft, launch vehicles and missile defense systems.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense, Simulation, Software