Raytheon, a global corporation, is harnessing the collaborative power of Virtalis’ Visionary Render VR software as one solution to virtually collaborate across the entire product lifecycle.
The Raytheon Missile System’s Immersive Design Center’s Manager, Kendall Loomis, explained: “Our best results happen when we bring diverse, cross-functional people together in our visualization theater, which can hold up to 70 people. We include folks outside the design world, like software and industrial engineers to operators and testers, and through the power of large scale visualization they are able to see opportunities to reduce risk and cost. They ask questions like, ‘Where can I put my torque wrench’, or ‘Is that a clearance issue?’ The visualization empowers folks across all platforms, from supply chain to quality – it focusses the conversation.”
Founded in 1922, Raytheon is a technology leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions, providing state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I™ products and services, sensing, effects and mission support services. It operates across 20 states in the US and is increasingly using VR to communicate between sites.
One Missile Systems program undertook a collaborative redesign effort with a critical supplier to modernize a missile wire harness. With a drawing package over 400 pages, the supplier was not confident all upgrades could be made. Raytheon leveraged Visionary Render to connect the Tucson, AZ Visualization Center to a remote system located at the supplier’s site across the country and collaborated real-time virtually on the redesign effort.
This remote collaboration solution, powered by Visionary Render, allowing a wide variety of professionals, from design engineers to manufacturing personnel, to collaborate virtually on issues such as pinch points and heat hazard to tooling and assembly processes. As a result, the original design was fully converted to a flex harness that not only worked, but finished eight months ahead of the 18-month schedule and 40% under budget.
Visionary Render has been designed to foster individual use, working in small groups, or collaborating with distant colleagues in a common virtual environment. Its adaptability means that it acts as a rapid, decision-making platform for performing detailed design reviews.
In 2017, over eight thousand people used the Arizona VR facility. It is currently 100% utilized so, to maximise outcomes, Loomis devotes considerable time to staging the data, be it Creo, Excel or other large data sets, displaying a story on the 700 square foot visualization system.
“Often, there is no need to book flights when we can collaborate remotely”, commented Loomis, “instead of waiting weeks to travel, we can connect the next day! VR means less time taken out of schedules. We can manipulate our model real-time and instantly see the outcome of those changes. We can also show our customers progress more iteratively and involve them along the way. We demonstrate our decision-making process and build confidence in the maturity of our products.”
Both Raytheon’s Boston and Tucson VR facilities have documented metrics validating the impact of VR at Raytheon, delivering a 25% improvement of reducing both risk and cost, which translates to a saving of millions of dollars annually.
“I believe adding HMDs and more portable VR systems to VR-enable a larger audience both within Raytheon and at our suppliers is where Raytheon will expand next”, said Loomis. “Our VR installations are paying for themselves in under a year. VR and the Visionary Render platform is a proven solution at Raytheon and there is potential to leverage it further. We are just getting started!”