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Beyond gaming: virtual reality and the future of manufacturing

February 8, 2017

The development of virtual reality (VR) from gaming to industrial use opens new possibilities for the field of material handling.

As VR makes it possible to operate in lifelike situations, it simplifies complex processes and enables potentially hazardous situations to be simulated, eliminating the need of costly mockups and improving safety.

In a port, plant or factory environment, for example, VR can allow manufacturers to experiment on process design. This, in turn, facilitates the identification of possible design errors and improves decision making. According to Johannes Tarkiainen, Industrial Design Manager at Konecranes, new production lines can be replicated and tested by users for validation purposes. “Design solutions can then be presented virtually in a photorealistic way,” he says.

VR can also help optimize maintenance procedures. ”For example, a technician could visit the crane virtually and see what’s going on remotely. He is thus better prepared for the on-site visit. In addition, technicians can receive training in a fully immersive environment without the need for equipment,” says Tarkiainen.

 

Text: Janne Vuorinen
Image: Shutterstock

3 Facts

  1. 3D CAD models may be given attributes such as appearance, motion, strength, wear resistance, heat conduction, and flexibility, then placed in a computer environment that simulates anticipated conditions and interactions.
  2. VR makes it possible to record and replay actions, thus alleviating time sensitive actions.
  3. Smart glasses are seeing adoption on factory floors and in fields such as construction and oil and gas, where hands need to be free.