Saturday, September 27, 2008

Virtual Manufacturing, Real Jobs at Boeing

Last year I've blogged a little about Brussels Airlines in Second Life and just recently have been talking with someone at KLM airlines on what airliners could do in virtual worlds. Their core business is of course transporting passengers from a to be, or metaphorically from their Real Lifes to their dream destinations (in case of holiday flights). Other focuspoints might be in crew training, but today I caught up on an interesting article in the Newark Advocate, published about two weeks ago which deals with Boeing's ventures into the realm of virtual worlds.
The Boeing Company is a major aerospace and defense corporation, originally founded by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Its international headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois, US since 2001. Boeing is the largest global aircraft manufacturer by revenue, orders and deliveries, and the second-largest aerospace and defense contractor in the world. Boeing is the largest exporter in the United States. Its stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. [Wikipedia]

Building an airplane isn't something you do in a few days. It's a major production process in which tens of millions of parts need to be fitted together meticulously, which is pricey stuff to do, even if you do it 'first time right'. It takes a lot of training, space and equipment. Virtual Worlds may aid in this process.

Boeing's new Virtual Manufacturing Center not only provides a detailed three-dimensional model of yet-to-be created products, but it also shows how to build them. Employees at the company's Guidance Repair Center on the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center campus will watch through 3-D glasses on a huge video screen how to assemble a product only in the design phase.

The precise computerized images use physics to demonstrate the assembly process, down to details such as which screw or bolt to attach first. The information in Heath will be used at Boeing sites across the country.

The defense contractor showed off the center's capability to government and business leaders Wednesday, beginning with a virtual ribbon-cutting, virtual fly-in from above the site and virtual walk-through of the facility, with precise re-creations of every detail in the building.

The $1.2 million center will bring 30 to 60 new jobs to the Heath facility within 12 to 18 months. It will speed up design and production, and cut costs and training time. "Implementing virtual manufacturing seems to be, on the surface, an overwhelming task, but we've taken the first baby steps," said Mike Emmelhainz, director for the Guidance Repair Center. "We're actually going to see a product we'll start building the first quarter of next year.

Read full article here.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Well, sunday night an my bags are packed. Not much to pack though. It's just a week. Just a regular size backpack and a laptop case will be fine.
Tomorrow / Today's gonna be a train-plane and automobile day.

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