Siemens UK has installed a Virtalis Virtual Reality (VR) system and software in its Congleton, Cheshire, factory as part of its drive towards the ‘digital factory’ of the future.
The Virtalis ActiveWall at Siemens UK includes a projected wall and floor combined with optical tracking for group and collaborative activities, while a Virtalis ActiveSpace headset adds additional levels of immersion.
“It is costly to create the tooling to manufacture a new product, and mistakes tend to be expensive,” explained Siemens mechanical team leader Simon Charlson. “We are now working with our suppliers to bring their virtual tooling into our design reviews.
“We are finding that this agile development is resulting in great communication between mechanical, electrical and design engineers and is shortening lead times.”
The team at Siemens UK initially thought about a multi-walled Cube, but the product review and design teams are up to 10 strong, so instead they chose the larger ActiveWall with a projected wall and floor combined with optical tracking for group and collaborative activities.
By review in VR big issues can be removed early on and lets the team concentrate on simple refinements. Previously a mock-up of a new cell on a factory floor would be needed for around four weeks to resolve all the issues.
With the VR kit available to them and the cross discipline communication it allows, this can be reduced to two days’ digital review plus a single week mock-up on the factory floor to solve all the issues.
Carl German, a Siemens’ transformation manager, added: “Our VR has been a game-changer for us and how we work.
“It’s key that the technology is not seen as something for a privileged few. As a result, we now bring VR into every facet of what we do.”