Case study

$1.5 million in construction costs saved with virtual design reviews


Raytheon achieves a 25% reduction in risk and costs with immersive visualisation.

Founded in 1922, Raytheon is a technology leader specialising in defence, 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 is the world’s largest producer of guided missiles, with over 63,000 employees.

With over 100 years of experience, Raytheon’s research and development team creates breakthrough technologies in fields such as artificial intelligence, advanced propulsion, electrification, and thermal management.

It operates across 20 states in the US and is increasingly using virtual reality to communicate between sites, as well as to speed up the design process and iterate on prototypes virtually with immersive visualisation.

By using immersive visualisation, Raytheon has seen the following benefits...

  • Projects completed up to eight months ahead of schedule and 40% under budget
  • Iterating virtually on a design 57 times, with hundreds of issues fixed ahead of any physical construction taking place, resulting in savings of time and $1.5million construction costs
  • Thanks to the huge time and money savings made, Raytheon’s virtual reality suites paid for themselves within the first year of use
  • Raytheon’s CAVEs allow for cross-functional teams from the design function, as well as software and industrial engineers, operators, and testers, to benefit from large-scale visualisation
  • Remote collaboration with a geographically distanced supplier, enabling a redesign effort on a complex missile wire harness

How Raytheon uses its visualisation solutions

Since installing the CAVEs and making use of portable systems, Raytheon’s teams have brought immersive visualisation into the heart of many use cases and projects, including:

Collaboration with suppliers

One Missile Systems program undertook a collaborative redesign effort with a critical supplier to modernise 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 allows 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.

Factory build planning

Raytheon built a brand-new missile integration facility, intended to be its state-of-the-art ‘Factory of the Future’. Rather than being filled with heavy-lifting equipment such as lifts, cranes, or hoists, the factory is crewed by automated guided vehicles (AGVs) which move materials around.  

Ahead of the new factory’s completion, Raytheon tested the AGVs out in Tucson. Everything learned about the AGVs, from how they docked into workstations, their turn radius, how they loaded hardware, was added into a virtual model of the factory. This model was built from 3D blueprints provided by the contractor.  

Raytheon then brought in cross-functional teams to review the model and how AGVs would work in the factory. The teams included the likes of industrial engineers, health and safety workers, programme managers, contractors, and customers. This provided a wide range of perspectives on the proposed layout of the factory, and led to hundreds of findings that were fixed at the virtual stage.  

Rather than pouring concrete 57 times, the virtual model was iterated 57 times, leading to a huge mitigation in risk and decreased construction time.  

Factory upgrades

More often, Raytheon incorporates new products, new equipment and upgrades into its existing factories. But shutting down factories for these upgrades means lost production time.  

To minimise the impact, Raytheon creates laser scans of the factory that is being upgraded which are then added to a virtual model. This model is used to plan out the future layout and equipment in the factory. Again, cross-functional teams are brought in to review and sign-off the plans, bringing multiple valuable perspectives. Once the plan is confirmed, it can be carried out efficiently, with logistics and other considerations worked out well ahead of time.  

Engaging with local groups and incoming employees

Raytheon is passionate about encouraging young people into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and its immersive CAVEs are an excellent way to showcase its innovative credentials. Visitors to the CAVEs have included Boy Scouts, local high schools, and potential employees. These young people, many of whom are ‘digital natives’, are often inspired when they see the interactive technology and how it can be used in engineering, in ways they hadn’t been aware of.

“Visionary Render mimics the real world, so we have been able to introduce virtual designs not just to our engineers, but also to operators, inspectors, and customers, all of whom will be involved with the products once they’re built. The result has been a different way of working: our development process has been quicker and our designs have been more creative, they include fewer and less complex parts, and have cost less. Our colleagues in Arizona have seen the same results from Visionary Render and have adopted it, too.”
Dan Gale, lead of Raytheon’s IDC in Andover

Get the full case study

See how Virtalis has been shaping the industry...
View all