Computer game-derived graphic engine technology is set to become increasingly more important for planners looking to simulate, before construction, all aspects of factory design and operation - down to the last nut and bolt.
According to Dassault Systemes' research and development executive vice-president Pascal Lecland, technology developed originally for the gaming market is set to be used to create ever more life-like simulations of aircraft factories.
"We want more and more realistic simulation and we want to simulate everything including the supply chain. [Airbus and Boeing's] problems were with the supply chain," says Lecland, whose company last year bought software company Virtools. Its computer game software is used by Ubisoft.
However, Lecland does not expect advances in microprocessor capability to drive the heavy computing needs of what is called the "digital factory". Instead he expects to use server clusters and grid computing, the divison of tasks between networked computers that may be geographically remote, in order to crunch enough numbers.
Networking is the central feature of the company's latest product, its V6 2009 suite that it started retailing in June. The company is selling this as the online networking of its range of products and as a service, not as a tool. Customers will log on and with their product data held at a central location will work in real time with others using the suite of Dassault products.