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Virtual Manufacturing

The research area “Virtual
Manufacturing” can be defined as an integrated
manufacturing environment which can enhance
one or several levels of decision and control in
manufacturing process. Several domains can be
addressed: Product and Process Design, Process
and Production Planning, Machine Tool, Robot
and Manufacturing System. As automation
technologies such as CAD/CAM have substantially
shortened the time required to design products,
Virtual Manufacturing will have a similar effect
on the manufacturing phase thanks to the
modelling, simulation and optimisation of the
product and the processes involved in its
The aim of this paper is to present an
updated vision of Virtual Manufacturing (VM)
through different aspects. As, since 10 years,
several projects and workshops have dealt with
the Virtual Manufacturing thematic, we will first
define the objectives and the scope of VM and the
domains that are concerned. The expected
technological benefits of VM will also been
In a second part, we will present the
socio-economic aspects of VM. This study will
take into account the market penetration of
several tools with respect to their maturity, the
difference in term of effort and level of detail
between industrial tools and academic research.
Finally the expected economic benefits of VM will
be presented.
The last part will describe the trends and
exploitable results in machine tool industry (res)
and development towards the 'Virtual Machine
Tool'), automotive (Digital Product Creation
Process to design the product and the
manufacturing process) and aerospace.

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