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Ford engineer Kali Gewinski wears 52 motion sensors as 23 full motion-capture video cameras record how she moves around a vehicle mockup. Software translates the data into the immersive virtual reality image seen in the background.
Lining Up for Continuous Improvement
Immersive virtual reality technologies help automakers improve worker safety, shorten lead times and bolster quality
James D. Sawyer Executive Editor
enry Ford put the fi rst effective automobile assembly line to use on Dec. 1, 1913. One might think in the intervening century this technology would be fully and wholly matured.
Not so. The assembly line is one of the places where continu-
ous improvement has been most assiduously practiced and demanded. Many of those improvements are being made by paying attention to the details, such as ergo- nomics, the way humans interface with the tasks they must accomplish in assembling a vehicle. “It would be fair to say without being too dramatic that what is being done is akin to a virtual CAD/CAM program where the factory is the machine tool, the assembly line is the spindle, the workers are the tool- ing and the vehicle is the workpiece,” Janice Goral,