Second Virtalis VR Installation at AMRC
A second Virtalis StereoWorks system has been installed in AMRC’s new £10 million “Rolls-Royce Factory of the Future” in Sheffield. The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, is a collaboration between world-leaders in the aerospace supply chain, key government offices and international academic institutions. AMRC’s impressive new facility is dedicated to developing the new, technology-driven solutions for materials-forming, metal-working, and castings, helping UK manufacturing to remain competitive.
AMRC’s first portable StereoWorks passive Virtual Reality (VR) system, which allows groups of people to see virtual objects and environments in 3D, has been taken all over the world. Their latest system is a bigger, active stereo Virtalis StereoWorks configuration boasting both tracking and rear projection. It is capable of handling fantastically large CAD files which have been converted into virtual models and which can be accessed in real time thanks to the Sun Cluster that powers it.
Rab Scott, who is Head of AMRC IT, explained: “We’ve already developed a virtual model of our “Rolls-Royce AMRC’s first portable StereoWorks passive Virtual Reality (VR) system, which allows groups of people to see virtual objects and environments in 3DFactory of the Future” and this has helped us to plan layouts and ensure the space is flexible. For example, we had 7,500 visitors in four and a half years in our last building and we anticipate much greater numbers coming here, so we have created a high level walk way round and over our experimental shop floor which will allow our engineers to work without disruption. Our next step is to incorporate augmented reality using Head Mounted Displays (HMDs) in some of our Framework VI research projects.”
Much of what the AMRC tries to achieve is to attempt to find simple ways to reduce waste and cost and to speed up processes to give the businesses it works with a competitive advantage. Researchers create different concept methodologies in CAD, and subsequently VR, before using their StereoWorks systems to communicate their ideas. Like Virtalis, AMRC works with all the main CAD companies so the resultant models can be easily integrated into the companies’ current way of working. For Sandvik, the Swedish cutting tool company and partner of AMRC, the team has created an analysis using VR to compare whether using a single tool for multiple solutions or using several different tools used uniquely would be the best solution for an application.
Rab commented: “We simulate as much of the process as possible in order to get it right first time. For global players like Rolls Royce, we were able to demonstrate that VR can be used as an engineering communications tool. Soon we hope to superimpose the relevant Finite Element Analysis (FEA) data on these models, compressing both the design and learning cycles.”