For more than a decade, CNH Industrial has been active in real time collaborative Virtual Reality (VR), working in partnership with Virtalis. Now, with the advent of 4k projectors and software capable of higher quality rendering, the global capital goods company has begun upgrading its Virtalis ActiveWalls.
“Our Virtual Reality rooms are where all new product concepts can be experienced virtually; years ahead of their actual market launch. The entire development team, including engineers, designers, branding specialists, stylists, manufacturing engineers and maintenance engineers review the virtual models of the prototype, sometimes bringing customers into the mix, so we can better evaluate product performance, in areas such as ergonomics and comfort. These sessions enable us to fully explore the new, innovative features of a future product,” said Gennaro Monacelli, head of Innovation, Simulation and Methods at CNH Industrial.
CNH Industrial designs, produces and sells agricultural and construction equipment, trucks, commercial vehicles, buses and specialty vehicles, in addition to a broad portfolio of powertrain applications worldwide. Starting with one ActiveWall, the company has steadily invested in Virtalis ActiveWalls, ActiveSpaces and 3D televisions at its sites around the world, enabling virtual design reviews and even market research and marketing to take place globally and in real-time
“We worked with our teams on a wish list and did our best to incorporate those desires into the final spec for Burr Ridge in the U.S. and Modena in Italy. A 4k projected system was a must, but we also made the decision to go wide screen, similar to our PCs across the Company. Now we have two 4k, ultra high resolution, wide screen ActiveWalls, each powered by a cluster of four computers working together to create the Virtual Reality content on the screen,” said Andrew Brokaw, CNH Industrial’s Virtual Reality manager. “We chose identical specs for each site and these remain compatible with our ActiveSpaces. To increase the natural feeling, we’ve upgraded our tracking to wireless.”
Already, the feedback from the Industrial Design and Marketing departments especially, is resoundingly positive. The improvement in the screen resolution enables tractor, bulldozer and combine harvester teams to walk right up to the screen to examine components or new features in more detail. Virtalis also upgraded the conferencing capabilities of both VR suites, with the latest speakers and microphones.
“We’ve also taken Virtalis’ ActiveView software to a new level,” explained Brokaw. “Thanks to some bespoke work by Andy Connell, Virtalis’ technical director, we’ve moved beyond picture in picture views to sharing virtual scenes in real time and streaming 3D data over the network, so our teams can benefit from collaborative virtual sessions. Watching a VR model being manipulated in real-time from the other side of the world certainly gives you the wow factor!”