Researchers from CITENI at the UDC’s Ferrol Industrial Campus are committed to the technology of video games to improve industrial simulation processes.

A Coruña, 21st of March 2024.- Recreating real-life situations in the field of industry is possible thanks to industrial simulation. This technique allows the analysis of industrial design processes and contributes to decision making with the aim of improving the design of production systems. Video game technology is increasingly present in this field: it is used to develop advanced simulators and virtual reality tools that enable high-fidelity training for personnel, product design and rapid prototyping.

Javier Pernas and Diego Crespo, researchers from the Industrial Organisation area of the Integrated Engineering Group (GII) of the Centre for Research in Naval and Industrial Technologies (CITENI) of the Ferrol Industrial Campus (CIF) of the University of A Coruña (UDC), made public their latest advance in this field. In the article “Open-source 3D discrete event simulator based on the game engine Unity”, published in the Journal of Simulation of the academic publisher Taylor & Francis Group, they bet on the integration of discrete event simulators (DES) with video game engines, such as the popular Unity.

Video-logic technology applied to the simulation of industrial processes for industry 4.0

Discrete Event Simulators (DES) represent a fundamental part of modern techno-scientific research and engineering. These computational models capture the temporal evolution of the systems to which they are applied by simulating point (discrete) events that can have complex impacts on their overall behaviour. From production planning to traffic simulation, they offer a unique perspective to facilitate decision making and process optimisation.

It is important to note that video game engines, such as Unity, do not become a reference in fields such as film, photography or advertising. Its incorporation into industry and digital manufacturing is a growing trend due to the functionalities it offers, such as its integration with Python, API (Application Programming Interface) databases and communication protocols, as well as having an active community of professionals and resources.

In their article, Pernas and Crespo present a discrete event simulator in C# programming language that integrates with the Unity development engine to take advantage of its powerful capabilities, including the physics engine, usability, architecture and compatibility with virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR) technologies. This integration allows the development of industrial or logistic process simulations with a visual component superior to that of current simulation software; and the most salient feature, at zero cost due to the free license to use Unity.

Betting on open and collaborative science

In addition, the researchers shared the code of the simulator (called Open Source Code) in open source, together with several example projects that were used for teaching purposes. Anyone can access this code and, based on it, develop their own projects; or they can even contribute to improving it, thus promoting open science and collaborative innovation.

The authors of the study affirm that they are still working on improving the simulator’s functionalities, which is still in its infancy, in the hope of being able to use it in new research and teaching projects. With their contribution, they offer an innovative perspective for the future of industrial design and for the simulation of processes applied to industry 4.0.

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CITENI researchers Diego Crespo (on the left) and Javier Pernas (on the right).
CITENI researchers Diego Crespo (on the left) and Javier Pernas (on the right).