3DG & LATi visit Holovis – Mixed Reality Developers

Technology & Science networking group LATi made a recent visit to Holovis, a midlands based company who specialise in emerging technologies that include Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities, utilising multi-sensory simulation to transform our sensory experiences. This visit focused on the use of these technologies in the advanced manufacturing sector, however applications of the technology are diverse, far reaching, and awe-inspiring.

The visit included a guided tour of the site with interactive demonstrations of mixed reality equipment. There were also guest presentations from companies HSSMi and the MTC, both providing innovative manufacturing solutions and support to companies in industries which include engineering, automotive & aerospace.



Digital Twin Technologies

Prior to the live demonstrations, guests were given an informative presentation from Holovis’ Henry Chow, who is their Head of Business Excellence and Transformation consultant. He discussed the values of AR and how it tries to unlock industry 4.0 digital frontier and why we should be trying to connect digital and physical, also and how it can be integrated into the automotive, manufacturing and aerospace industries. Henry spoke passionately about digital twin technologies, (a digital replica of physical assets), smart technologies, simulation and training systems.


He talks about how it “doesn’t have to be all Tony Stark and fancy headsets, but looking at actual benefits, for example with medical students where AR can be used to display veins during live training.” A watershed moment he believes was the Vaunt glasses from Intel as it finally made it socially acceptable to wear technology.

Virtual Factory

During the tour the group listened to Andy Biller, a Solution Architect with vast knowledge and experience in the mixed reality industry, he led the group demonstration of their VR & AR equipment. Specifically, we experienced assembly line robotic equipment by using tablets, handheld devices and full VR backpack with a headset to fully explore this environment.


The virtual factory that was created in Unity software showing CAD models of the assembly line units, in real factories these areas are highly restricted for health and safety reasons, by creating these digital twin environments key benefits include extensive training for maintenance engineers which reduces cost during downtime, improves planning and design for large automated facilities, analysis of run time & efficiency.



Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is as equally important, especially in the analysis of components at approval phase. Holovis software allows CAD data to be mapped over sample parts to check details such as profiles, features, manufacturing and assembly process. Benefits of using this technology allow companies to approve components accurately which can be manufactured anywhere in the world, saving significant time and travel expenditure.



Audience inspired by possibilities

Chris Howe from ASDEC was really inspired with how Holovis are working with their customers to provide excellent end products that a truly useful in the workplace.

“Certainly from my perspective, the AR uses where mixed teams can visually discuss test results of a product while actually looking at the real thing would be invaluable in both understanding and productivity.”

Alan Thomas from CAVT Ltd was impressed by the bolt tightening guidance system shown by Holovis. Which could give high integrity assurance for low volume or prototype bolting, welding or riveting operations, field repairs, or producing legacy replacement assemblies, where robotics is infeasible, uneconomic, or just unavailable at the time.

“The door panel sealant demonstration using current technology moved things along from trials in which I was involved with Imperial College and Bielefeld some years ago with robots and machine vision.”

The event had in-depth presentations from HSSMI & MTC, both leading companies discussing how they specialise in innovative manufacturing solutions, providing technical guidance and support.

Victoria Tewes from HSSMI said: “In terms of the event, I thought it was really interesting to see how the digital twin concept is being explored, a key takeaway for me was that HSSMI is on the right track regarding digital twin, learning how it is incredibly beneficial, however far from being a one size fits all, easy to implement standard. Holovis have clearly got a fantastic appetite for pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved and I know the team and I thought that was exciting.”

Event run on behalf of the iNet

The visit to Holovis truly inspired everyone, each LATi guest was enthused, and excited about the use of this technology. This specialist networking event was arranged by LATi on behalf of The iNet and would like to thank Holovis for allowing us to see behind the scenes to be inspired by the uses of mixed reality technologies within manufacturing environments. 3DG would also like to thank Gillian Hunter of LATi for allowing this guest blog to be created, you may be reading a few more in future!

Develop3D Live – A Dream Event For Designers

As a working professional, do you make the effort to visit exhibitions and conferences in your field? Which one did you visit last and was it any good? The number of events put on every year is staggering and they are usually free to attend. Choosing which one to go to, and then getting work to grant you the day off, can be difficult. When in full time employment, the number of design events I visited was a big fat zero, which is utterly terrible looking back. As a business owner and designer I make it a priority to visit a number of design events throughout the year.

My recommend top 3 events for designers are:

  1. Develop 3D Live (Warwick)
  2. Engineering Design Show (Coventry)
  3. TCT Live – 3D Printing (Birmingham)

After missing last year’s DEVELOP3D LIVE 2017 with the date clashing on my son’s birthday, I made sure to attend this year, on my birthday! That’s how good it is; it’s well worth the visit.

DEVELOP3D LIVE is probably the UK’s leading conference and exhibition showcasing everything from design, engineering and manufacturing technology. Organisers proudly claim that the event ‘helps brings world-leading products to the market faster’.

I first attended five years ago and have loved it ever since. It is usually held at Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University – a place which has undergone change with heavy investment in such as short space of time, even since I’ve been going. The event always boasts an excellent line up of speakers spread across four halls. All ranging from award winning designers, influencers, and CEO’- such as Gian Paolo Bassi of Solidworks, and Brian Thompson from PTC – to name a few. They are all here to tell you about the latest technology, software trends, with live presentations and discussions about the future design world, and how it’s rapidly evolving.

Core Topics at Develop3D Live:

  • Technology use in Product Development
  • CAD
  • Computer Aided Engineering
  • Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
  • 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing
  • Workstation Technology
  • Rendering and Animation
  • Reverse Engineering

You also get a chance to speak to industry experts from different areas of the design world, companies also exhibit their latest products at the conference, showcasing the latest 3D CAD software, hardware, Virtual & Augmented Reality, 3D printing (FormLabs, Desktop Metal) and 3D scanning.

DEVELOP3D Live showcases the essential technologies used throughout the entire product development process – from concept development, model generation and analysis – through to final render.

As a designer, be it product, industrial, mechanical, or conceptual, this is the event for you and you should be visiting. The conference is essential to understand which technologies in your industry are at the forefront and seeing if your company can implement these.

My agenda for this years’ event was to watch, absorb and ask questions on the subject of Augmented and Virtual Reality to help with potential business projects. As a small business, funds aren’t available compared to some of the automotive and aerospace companies, who can invest anywhere between £50,000 to £100,000 on VR software and systems to help develop their products.

A personal highlight was watching Richard Seale from Seymourpowell design agency developing a car chassis in their customised virtual reality software. Using hand controllers to sketch 3D lines (splines), and when complete import it back into design software Alias as a STEP file. Incredibly, all appeared natural but fascinating to watch.

It capped off a fascinating show, which left me wanting to learn and know more. Will we be using traditional CAD software and work stations in 5 or 10 years’ time? The future looks exciting if you’re a designer.

Thanks for reading, please like, or perhaps comment if you attended the show? What did you like or dislike about Develop3D Live 2018?

LATi networking group & 3DG visit Renfrew Group International

In March, the LATi networking group & 3DG spent the afternoon at world-renowned and award-winning design consultancy Renfrew Group International. Renfrew’s headquarters is based locally in Leicester, close to the National Space Centre, at the aptly named Rocket Studios.

The LATi visit to Renfrew Group visit attracted a diversity of engineers, scientists, and technologists, who were all excited to see inside Renfrew’s headquarters. We had the opportunity to listen to presentations from design development director Michael Phillips and enjoyed an open discussion with MD Bruce Renfrew.

The event included a guided tour of the design studios, workshops, impressive prototyping rooms and production facilities including injection moulding. It truly really was a privilege to see the inner workings of a hands-on design studio.

Interestingly, Renfrew’s design projects are user focused with an eye on practical and emotional needs. Products range from motorcycles to the everyday products in our lives, but they also carry out design projects for the medical industry (nearly 60%). Innovative medical products include the artificial pancreas, NHS Temporary Side Room, the Buddy Wotch wearable and the user-centered chair for the NHS Blood and Transplant service.

Renfrew has also been working closely with Californian technology firm Digilens, developing vision technology, in the particular Head Up Displays(HUDs) designed to be integrated into motorcycle helmets and to provide the rider with extra information from traffic reports, speed, GPS mapping, and phone communications.

Event organiser Gillian Hunter, who spoke after the event highlighted this “clearly demonstrates how brilliant engineering and design can dramatically improve people’s lives.”

Automotive & Vehicle Safety expert Alan Thomas of CAVT Ltd spoke highly of the event, saying “LATi events always delight me with the ways in which businesses in an entirely different sector to mine throw helpful light on aspects of my work. Renfrew was no exception, at least with their medical projects, plus the head-up displays were closer to the human machine interface systems I deal with. It was no surprise that we were not able to visit the automotive side: after a lifetime with the secrecy of the auto industry, I’d have been worried if we had been allowed in there”.

As usual with LATi events, attendees have numerous ideas of how the technology can be further applied, or adaptations made for the benefit of a different user group. A case in point was when Alan Thomas suggested transposing the Digilens technology so that it could be adapted for the visually impaired. The ideas and insights put forward were enthusiastically received by the team at Renfrew Group, demonstrating that LATi visits can be a true ‘win-win’ for everyone.

LATi would like to thank those who attended and of course to Renfrew Group for giving up their time to provide a valuable insight to the company’s portfolio, history, and design philosophy.


For further information and inspiration, please visit: http://www.renfrewgroup.com/

Guest blog by David Garvin of 3DG Design