The characters in video games such as Call of Duty and Madden NFL have become more realistic with every upgrade. Realistic enough, in fact, to convince automakers that similar 3-D human models can be used to improve manufacturing operations.
Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Honda Motor Co. are among the growing number of automakers using human modeling software to ergonomically design their assembly line workstations before the line is built.
Automakers have long programmed factory robots to perform specific tasks with the least amount of movements. This human modeling software does the same for people.
Automakers use this software mainly to reduce worker injuries and the related costs in workers' compensation and to determine the most efficient movements for a worker to do the job.
The software can alter the line to accommodate a model change and to redesign a single workstation where injuries are occurring. But the largest benefits come from using the software to design a line from scratch for an assembly plant.