Virtual machine tools and virtual machining—A technological review
Virtual manufacturing systems provide a useful means for products to be manufactured ‘right the first time’ without the need of physical testing on the shop floor. Earlier research was mostly on developing a virtual manufacturing environment. Over the years, simple graphical prediction and simulation gave way to complex multi-science predictions. Virtual systems such as Virtual Machine Tool, Virtual Machining, Virtual Assembly, Virtual Tooling and Virtual Prototype have been developed to support virtual manufacturing. Different systems and approaches have different targeted applications. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive review of existing virtual systems. Their focuses and approaches (i.e. virtual reality, Web-based techniques, mathematical modelling, hardware interactions and STEP-NC-based methodologies) are discussed in detail. To better understand the systems, we have categorized them into different groups according to their application domains. Discussions and concluding remarks are given based on the review.