Case Study - Fraunhofer Institute


Fraunhofer Institute

As part of a spectacular 360° laser projection system at the Virtual Development and Training Centre (VDTC) based at Fraunhofer Institut for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg, Germany, Virtalis has installed its Visionary Cluster System.


Virtalis has harnessed its Visionary Cluster to PTC’s DIVISION Reality for Windows – the high-end visualisation system featuring 64-bit scalability. Andrew Connell, Technical Director at Virtalis, explained: “The combination of our clustering technology with DIVISION Reality allows the loading of much larger chunks of data than was ever previously possible. We are talking about an increase of more than 16 times, meaning that the world’s largest CAD models can now be loaded in one go, while still using standard PC architecture. Visionary Cluster combined with DIVISION Reality enables multiple graphics pipes in parallel, spreading the data set across the cluster.”

Virtalis Visionary facilitates seamless integration between DIVISION Reality and the cluster. The solution is also infinitely scalable, with three PCs, or as many as are required, capable of running both large-scale, projected environments and a headset-wearing, fully tracked individual either singularly or simultaneously exploring the same model. As Visionary uses off-the-shelf PCs, both purchase and maintenance costs are low.


The Fraunhofer IFF is a flagship project, which involved the construction of a new, futuristic building to hold the laser projection system. The circular aluminium screen it contains is 16m by 6.5m. The laser projection system of the VDTC is perceived to be such a valuable tool for the entire region that it has already be given the name of “Elbedom”, as it serves a part of Germany through which the eponymous river flows. Elbedom is proving to be a vital development tool for large companies and SMEs around the region who use it to create virtual products and processes. Fraunhofer is also working with local universities to make the VDTC available for research.


30 people can be accommodated within the Fraunhofer’s projection area. They experience superb images generated by six laser projectors, each providing a 75o view, with the overlapping edges of the image being soft blended.

Steffen Masik, a scientist at Fraunhofer IFF explains: “The public’s response to Elbedom has been fantastic. 2,000 turned up to try out the system during the first Open Day. Workers saw how it could be used for training and senior executives were able to understand products that do not yet exist that had previously been the exclusive province of engineers. We showed our own applications alongside ones from Virtalis. People were very surprised and excited by the level of realism. The sharpness is excellent and the colours produced represent about two thirds of the human ability to see colours, compared with one third for most projectors. In fact, quite a few were convinced they had been moving, owing to the scale and quality of the images within their field of vision.”

Fraunhofer Website



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