Sunday , October 1 2023

Evaluation of a Haptic Environment for
Assembly Task Simulation

Diana POPESCU1, Robert IACOB1, Frederic NOEL2,
Cedric MASCLET2, Thibault LOUIS2

1 University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest,
313 Splaiul Independentei, Bucharest – 060042, Romania,
2 Grenoble Institute of Technology,
46 avenue Félix Viallet, Grenoble – F38031, France,,

Abstract: A new application for virtually simulating assembly tasks was developed by integrating multimodal data and kinematic information provided by a mobility module into a Collaborative Virtual Environment. During assembly simulations, the haptic device implemented in the application supports the user’s movements by using the automatically detected kinematic constraints between the components of the assembly. Thus, all stages of the assembly process can be simulated, which leads to an increase of the user immersion. The current paper presents the methodology, the protocols and the results of evaluating the application, the test being performed by a group of 20 participants. Tasks were run for assessing the following criteria: usability, efficiency, ease of use and quality of the haptic feedback. Each participant tested the application for two types of assemblies (mounting flange and standard vise) with different complexity and number of components. Testing protocols considered both objective evaluation (using real-time information), as well as subjective evaluation using questionnaires. The analysis of the results proved the feasibility of the proposed approach. Further work will be focused on extensive studies for assessing intra-users variations and improvement of the haptic feedback for a number of particular situations reported by users as important.

Keywords: Assembly/Disassembly, Virtual Environment, Haptic Interfaces.

>>Full text
Diana POPESCU, Robert IACOB, Frederic NOEL, Cedric MASCLET, Thibault LOUIS, Evaluation of a Haptic Environment for Assembly Task Simulation, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 24 (3), pp. 329-338, 2015.

  1. Introduction

Nowadays, a lot of effort has been made to develop virtual tools for different purposes: cooperative ideas generation (Thorsteinsson, 2010), production optimization (Debevec, 2014), assembly simulation (Seth, 2008), etc. In this context, engineers cannot even consider developing and manufacturing a successful product without the use of 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) systems or, more recently, without using Virtual Environments (VEs).

Assembly, as a complex process with high impact on the product development, has been intensively studied for increasing its overall efficiency while maintaining its profitability. In order to achieve these goals, engineers make use of different knowledge, tools and methods (Pupaza, 2014), (Iacob, 2013) for supporting their work and for the early evaluation of their design decisions over the assembly cost and time. Efficient design software applications are offering the possibility to generate and use completely parameterized virtual 3D assembly models for automating activities such as: component design changes propagation within assembly, BoM (Bill of Materials) generation, interference checking or component reuse. Lately, there is a trend in developing software products as add-ons of different 3D CAD systems for generating valid Assembly and Disassembly (A/D) sequences plans, for identifying functional components and for simulating A/D operations, which represent three important aspects not yet completely resolved by the commercial CAD packages. These complex research subjects are also part of the same effort of overall improvement of the design process by transferring the focus on product assembly design, rather than on component design. However, in order to be efficient, these design approaches should consider how the real A/D tasks are performed and try to implement algorithms which avoid generating unfeasible A/D trajectories. In addition, they should provide more realistic boundary conditions than just trajectory extreme points. Although the aid provided by these automatic software tools is important, the final decision belongs to the designer. The applications provide a list of results and, sometimes, a number of criteria for ordering, thus the engineer should be able to check different feasible solutions in order to choose the best one. In this context, we consider that immersive simulations based on data automatically extracted and processed from CAD assembly models can eliminate some of these disadvantages, representing a necessity of the modern engineering design.

Haptic technology can give back engineers the sense of touch that they lose when using CAD products, and combining this with an application focused on generating assembly kinematic constraints, will not only reduce the complexity of collision detection algorithms, but also will provide users’ a realistic feeling when simulating assembly and disassembly operations. Therefore, a haptic A/D simulation VE, which can provide information and data regarding valid A/D trajectories (translations, rotations and helical ones) or accessibility trajectories, becomes a more efficient and useful tool for an engineer, during the Product Development Process (PDP) or training. In this sense, we developed an A/D simulation application that implements a mobility module based on kinematic constraints between assembly components in a Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE). A haptic device was implemented in the application in order to provide the users the possibility to perform A/D tasks in a similar manner as in the real environment, thus increasing the quality of the immersive environment. The current paper presents the evaluation of this application performed by a group of 20 participants for two types of assembly models: one with a low difficulty (mounting flange) and one with a medium difficulty (standard vise). The experiments were conducted using the Virtuose haptic interface with 6 DoFs (Degrees of Freedom) developed by the French company Haption.


  1. BORDEGONI, M., CUGINI, U., BELLUCO, P., ALIVERTI, M., Evaluation of a Haptic-based Interaction System for Virtual Manual Assembly, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 5622, 2009, pp. 303-312.
  2. DEBEVEC M., SIMIC M., HERAKOVIC N., Virtual Factory as an Advanced Approach for Production Process Optimization, International Journal of Simulation Modelling, vol. 13, no. 1, 2014, pp. 66-78.
  3. GONZALEZ-BADILLO, G., MEDELLIN-CASTILLO, H., LIM, T., RITCHIE, J. M., SUNG, R., GARBAYA, S., A New Methodology to Evaluate the Performance of Physics Simulation Engines in Haptic Virtual Assembly, Assembly Automation, vol. 34, no. 2, 2014, pp. 128-140.
  4. GONZALEZ-BADILLO, G., MEDELLIN-CASTILLO, H., LIM, T., RITCHIE, J. M., GARBAYA, S., The Development of a Physics and Constraint-based Haptic Virtual Assembly System, Assembly Automation, vol. 34(1), 2014, pp. 41-55.
  5. IACOB, R., POPESCU, D., Generation of Disassembly Directions based on  Component Mobility, Studies in Informatics and Control, vol. 22, no. 4, 2013, pp. 307-318.
  6. KHAN, M., SULAIMAN, S., TAHIR, M., SAID, A. M., A study on usability factors for haptic systems, International Journal Studies in Informatics and Control, Vol. 24, No. 3, September 2015 337 of Computer Theory and Engineering, vol.5, no. 3, 2013, pp. 500-502.
  7. LIM, T., RITCHIE, J. M., DEWAR, R. G., CORNEY, J. R., WILKINSON, P., CALIS, M., DESMULLIEZ, M., FANG, J. J., Factors affecting user performance in haptic assembly, Virtual Reality, vol. 11, no. 4, 2007, pp. 241-252.
  8. PONTONNIER, C., DUMONT, G., SAMANI, A., MADELEINE, P., BADAWI, M., Designing and evaluating a workstation in real and virtual environment: Toward virtual reality based ergonomic design sessions, Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces, December, vol. 8, no. 2, 2014, pp.199-208.
  9. PUPAZA, C., CONSTANTIN, G., NEGRILA, S., Computer Aided Engineering of industrial robots, Proceedings in Manufacturing Systems, vol. 9, no. 2, 2014, pp. 87-92.
  10. SAMUR, E., WANG, F., SPAELTER, U., BLEULER, H., Generic and Systematic Evaluation of Haptic Interfaces based on Testbeds, Proceedings of ICIRS, 2007, pp. 2113-2119.
  11. SETH, A., SU, H.J., VANCE, J. M., SHARP: a system for haptic assembly and realistic prototyping, Conference ASME – DETC, Philadelphia, September 2006, pp. 1-8.
  12. SETH, A., VANCE, J. M., OLIVER, J. H., Combining dynamic modeling with geometric constraint management to support low clearance virtual manual assembly, Journal of Mechanical Design, vol. 132, no. 8, 2010, pp. 1-7.
  13. SMITH, R., Open Dynamics Engine library,, 2014.
  14. THORSTEINSSON, G., PAGE, T., NICULESCU, A., Using virtual reality for developing design communication, Journal of Studies in Information and Control, vol. 19, no. 1, 2010, pp. 93-106
  15. XIA, P., LOPES, A.M., RESTIVO, M. T., YAO Y., A new type haptics-based virtual environment system for assembly training of complex products, Intlernational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, vol. 58, no. 1, 2012, pp. 379-396.