What benefits does XR bring to factory design and layout

Recent trends in the manufacturing industry suggest that existing layout configurations do not meet the needs of multi-product enterprises and that there is a need for a new generation of factory layouts that are flexible, modular, and easy to reconfigure.

With increased flexibility, modularity, and reconfigurability, factories could avoid redesigning their layouts each time their production requirements changed. Modern manufacturers value layouts that retain their usefulness over many product mixes and can easily be reconfigured. Equally important are layouts that permit shorter lead times, lower inventories, and a greater degree of product customization.

Below there is a video showing how a factory layout can be reviewed in the board room on a table-top in Mixed Reality (Microsoft HoloLens) and how the user can interact with the 3D data in full-scale in Virtual Reality (HTC Vive Pro).

Factory Layout - the tabletop review

Factory_Layout_Experience

Why use XR for design

Creating new layouts can be expensive and disruptive, especially when factories must shut down. When planning and making changes, it is therefore essential to get it right the first time.

Production engineers need to evaluate conventional layouts (such as product, process, and cellular or overlapping cellular layouts), versus functional layouts (all resources of the same type in one location), versus alternative concepts (such as distributed layouts with ‘virtual’ temporary cells) when considering flexible manufacturing scenarios.

Spatial computing technologies, blending digital assets into the physical world, represent an opportunity to bring engineers closer to their models, and engineering team closer together.

How we can help

Our out-of-the-box, Factory Layout Experience can be seamlessly integrated into existing business processes, using proven and robust XR technologies. Scenes can be preloaded with existing CAD or scanned factory data. Existing or new library components can be imported and repositioned using ‘grab and move’ capabilities and simple snap-to functionality for easy and accurate positioning.

Alternative scenarios can be rapidly explored to optimize layout (maximizing productivity and efficiency), understand potential clashes, evaluate ergonomic issues or access problems, and prepare infrastructure options. Promising outcomes can be saved for future review or cascade, or they can be exported to update source CAD data. Similarly, staff can learn and rehearse operation and handling of virtual lines, accelerating readiness and quality improvement.

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