InFleX: Flexible Components in Interactive Environments

In our modern industrial society elastic materials are indispensable. Automobiles, industrial machinery or even consumer products are unthinkable without cables, tubes, seals or sleeves. The modern design process is mostly digitalized, using Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Digital Mockup or simulation are the major steps to increase productivity and quality.
However, most of the steps are perfumed sequentially. A better better linkage between those independent steps, especially between simulation and construction, would even more increase productivity leading to more time savings and cost reduction. Combining both part is not easy due to the enormous amount of time for many simulations and the real-time requirements for the construction process.

The aim of the project “InFlex” was to embed flexible components in a interactive environment in order to allow interactive virtual construction or digital mockup. Those flexible components are cables or tubes and their positions are defined through retaining clips.

The necessary simulation of the flexible objects has been realized by the company fleXilution GmbH in Cologne by using their fleXengine. The fleXengine calculates the physical correct appearance of the cables/tubes using the retaining clips and definable material properties, like inner or outer diameter. This simulation engine got integrated into our VE-Framework bash. Next to the integration of the simulation engine in the VE-Framework simulation commands, like creating a flexible object or joining retaining clips, had to be transferred to user interactions in the Virtual Environment.