Virtual Reality (VR) is defined as ‘the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.’ At first, VR sounds like it is just a replacement to video games – something professionals would not have to worry about.
Yet, virtual reality is proving to be critical for forward-thinking manufacturing companies. In the long run, this technology can provided safer environments for employees, as well as save the company big bucks when it comes to prototype designs, testing, and training.
According to the CMTC Manufacturing Blog, companies like Ford Motor Company and Boeing utilize this technology to simulate road and weather conditions as well as eliminate the need to build physical models of the airplanes, which takes time, space, and money. The technology has been around since the early 2000’s, but is just now getting more spotlight about the benefits.
SPEC Engineering introduced VR to customers in 2018, realizing the several benefits that this technology can provide moving forward. For customers just starting out, the VR software can be used to visualize plant layout and equipment specifications. Sometimes it can be difficult to picture how exactly an empty warehouse will be turned into a production facility, so VR can do that for you! Ergonomic designs can also be taken into consideration for operators’ safety and comfort.
Once a customer can visualize the plant layout, the technology is also useful for identifying any potential issues before fabrication or installation. For instance, one design was inputted into the system, and right away the Project Engineer realized the pipe was overlapping the door opening to the office. That wouldn’t be ideal to have to duck every time you entered into the warehouse! By identifying the issue early on, money wouldn’t be wasted on materials and installation.
Finally, training employees just got taken to the next level. Using VR, employees can learn the new system before it is even up and running at the plant. They can be knowledgeable about the safety features, and with everyone’s busy schedules, not all training needs to be completed at the same time. If person A needs to do training on Tuesday and person B needs to do training on Wednesday, it does not take that extra resource to be available to train on both days.
Virtual Reality continues to take manufacturing and plant design to the next level. SPEC Engineering is excited to offer these services to our customers and help them envision the future! So no, virtual reality is not just for kids!
View an example of how SPEC has used virtual reality.