Digital Design Improvement (DDI) by utilizing 3D data

Fuji Xerox developed and is utilizing "Digital Design Improvement (DDI)", which is a system for design review by all members involved in the design, making preparations for production, logistics, manufacturing, and quality control of a product. In the past, a quality inspection was conducted on the actual machines. By using a digital mockup tool, DDI allows us to conduct this quality inspection before the machines are actually built. Most importantly, product functions must be realized based on the design–a basic criterion used to evaluate design quality. The design must also meet specific standards for appearance, usability, safety, maintainability, ease of assembly, recycling, packaging, logistics, etc. Therefore, digital mockups are created using 3D data at each level of individual parts, units consisting of multiple parts, and the entire machine. Experts from the departments in charge of inspecting quality review those digital mockups and identify issues from various perspectives. They then discuss with engineers how to resolve the issues and improve product quality.

Fig. 1: DDI Process

When checking a design in DDI, we can reduce or enlarge the size of parts and units, rotate them, and add extra images to the design on a display screen by utilizing the advantages of 3D data. In the case of checking whether a tool (screwdriver) can be used without interfering with other parts in the assembly or maintenance of a product (Fig. 2), we used to spend much time bringing the tip of a screwdriver to each screw in the actual assembly of a product. In DDI, all screwing points are converted into the images of a set of a screw and a screwdriver, so that any interference of the screwdriver with other parts can be detected automatically. And when necessary, we can also review designs under conditions approximating those of actual situations by displaying human body models. For areas related to user operation and depending on what needs to be inspected, designs are checked not only in a static mode but also in a dynamic mode, where 3D models are movable. Inspection is conducted as a part of DDI activity several times based on the progress of creating digital mockups, from initial design to actually building the machines. Along with the progress of creating digital mockups, inspection is conducted as a part of DDI activity several times from initial design up until before building the machines. During the inspection periods, we improve product quality through an intensive design review. When a design review is conducted across multiple sites, a remote DDI system is used to share images and check the same 3D models.
DDI that utilizes 3D data not only enables various inspections before the machines are actually built but also improves inspection efficiency and reduces the time spent on design.

Fig. 2: Case of verifying ease of assembly (automatic inspection to determine whether a screwdriver interferes with other parts)