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.
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!