During development of the production line for the Primera Estate, Nissan’s engineers ran a VR simulation of the airbag module being fitted on a virtual production line at Sunderland.
The sequence pictured required 60Mb of computer disk space and took four days to create.
It showed that the airbag could not easily be fitted by a worker with the windscreen in place. To do so workers would have to contort themselves in such a way that repeating the movement 400 times a day would have physical implications and slow the line down.
‘In this instance,’ says Palmer, ‘we decided to change the planned assembly order fitting the windscreen glass after the airbag so that the worker can poke his head through the aperture. It took about 2 3 days to change the layout on the model and re-run the simulation.
‘Traditionally it would have been another 12 months when the prototype assembly line was built before we even knew of the problem.’