Virtual Reality has the huge application in the field of Smart Manufacturing since, this branch of manufacturing should optimize: concept generation, production, and product transaction.

If we look at the benefits of smart manufacturing in the short-term sense, brands and companies which decide to pursue such an endeavor will lower their cost of production; they will become more competitive on a dynamic, global market; and they will be able to make and market new innovative products out of the next generation of materials.

Hand in hand with smart manufacturing, Industries 4.0 are walking. The aim of Industries 4.0 is to close the gap between digital and real worlds, while using the technologies of cyber-physical systems such as Internet of Things, as well as Virtual and Augmented Reality. 

ARVRtech had a great privilege to work with global client LafargeHolcim on their digital transformation project. They wanted to create Virtual Reality demo application with two main goals in mind: VR app will help them to fully test and explore capabilities of VR in terms of staff training in safety measures and presentation of manufacturing processes; while VR app will also position them as the company utilizing the latest technology and setting new standards in the community of their customers and friends who tried the app during the Open Day in LafargeHolcim cement plant in Mannersdorf.

VR Lafarge app created the effect of better understanding how is to be inside manufacturing process because usually only people who work in those venues can thread and explore there. Lafarge’s operations were demystified and portrayed in most realistic way thanks to the virtual reality format.

The formats that helped us achieve this effect of going into Lafarge premises were 360 video, 360 photo, 3D graphics, interactive elements which were activated upon user clicking on certain objects in 3D environment. This app was created for Samsung Gear VR, as well as for HTC Vive with extra functionalities and interactivity that HTC design offers in virtual world, such as joysticks controls and room scale tracking.

When ARVRtech created Lafarge VR app, one of the main effects that we wanted to achieve based on client’s requirements was to emphasize safety in company processes, by providing basic safety details when working at heights as well as description of personal safety equipment. Furthermore, various aspects of manufacturing process were presented such as: (i) equipment details and blasting in Quarry, (ii) cement kiln as part of clinker production, (iii) cement packaging with product information.

When it comes to personal safety equipment, the menu showed all the prerequisites with personal safety equipment each individual worker needs, as well as safety related to work at height (harness that must be worn, and prohibiting people to walk under the moving equipment).

Another interesting point inside the menu of this app is the raw materials quarry. This quarry is showed as we zoom in the map of Austria where Lafarge factory is. You can view blast video inside the raw materials section. Different metrics are shown as we watch the video about the blast such as the noise level in dB, as well as average output, yearly production, bucket size, etc.

When it comes to the content related to Clinker production it is possible to watch 360 degree video in factory setting. You may click intuitively on Inside look to enter 3D graphics world and explore the main parts of kiln and calcinator by interacting with 3D models in virtual environment. 

Finally, in the menu section you may also see the options for packaging the final product with basic product info. The products i.e. the sacks of cement are divided in red, black, green and gray categories and production sections. The inside of the factory is realistically filmed with all the production processes unfolding in front of our eyes that are curious of VR.

To sum up, VR is used in manufacturing for real; it is beyond gimmick and shiny, passing trend. Thanks to mechanisms of Virtual and Augmented Reality companies are able to test different manufacturing scenarios and to educate the huge number of employees about safety standards and work processes.

In addition, VR is a great tool for marketing and product presentation, allowing customers to experience the manufacturing process, products and appreciate company values.

Our collaboration with LafargeHolcim showed that when a client and service provider are on the same page about the results the tech solution should provide, building this tech infrastructure is incredibly easier and the focus is less on features than on impact. The most amazing VR clients always ask the question, ‘‘What problem are we solving?’’ instead of ‘‘What feature should we make?’’

You can take VR journey by watching video of LafargeHolcim VR Demo application.

Please contact ARVRtech team to provide you VR training solution that meets specific needs.

Image: LafargeHolcim archive