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“Overall, a corporation saves time and money!”

Andreas Rüdenauer, Speaker at the 2017 MTM Users’ Conference on the Benefits of Virtual Reality

3D glasses are the new major thing in the gaming scene. Virtual Reality (VR), i.e. the visual representation and perception of reality, is increasingly becoming a topic for industry too, however. The startup known as Rüdenauer 3D Technology GmbH will be presenting the benefits of virtual reality during the 2017 MTM Users’ Conference. MTMaktuell spoke to the company’s founder Andreas Rüdenauer about the subject and opportunities for industrial VR applications.

Mr. Rüdenauer, why are you focusing on the subject of virtual reality?

When we launched our corporation in 2014, the 3D visualization of mechatronic procedures was initially the major focus of our work. However, we then recognized that there will be an increasing need on the part of manufacturing industry to use the opportunities provided by virtual reality. At the same time, the development of hardware is making enormous strides. I can remember, for example, the hype generated at the CES technology trade show or intelligent gloves too, which are already being used in picking or on conveyor belts now. Our concepts go far beyond this. We’re developing a technology that operates without any data gloves or cables. This should enable work or process planners to operate intuitively as if a human being was working on a real machine or a real production line. Virtual reality offers this opportunity – to present reality in an interactive virtual environment, which is generated by a computer in real time.

You are a speaker at this year’s MTM Users’ Conference – where do you see the link to MTM and what can virtual reality do for industrial engineers?

Our aim is to establish an end-to-end value-added chain – a virtual reality system where the work instructions, time standards, service plans etc. are mapped via the relevant central data storage facility and this even includes everyday usage by the work planners, purchasers or development engineers. There’s another point that links us to MTM and industrial engineering: Human beings with their many years of experience and ergonomic requirements can be taken into consideration at a very early stage in the planning process. Other benefits include, for example, preventing errors when setting up assembly procedures, making savings on prototype throughput times, accelerating the commissioning process at plants or having shorter product development times. In extreme cases, I can even prevent recalls thanks to the high level of planning quality. Overall, a corporation saves time and money!

How will VR technology continue to develop?

Generally, virtual reality can be used anywhere in development and production, regardless of which sector is involved. An enormous field is opening up here, particularly as we make our way towards Industry 4.0. But we first need to determine the potential here. In all the euphoria, we must not forget that all those involved in the market place first need to grow accustomed to the new technology. We’re therefore focusing on our customers’ specific requirements and we’re also developing our products on the basis of value-enhancing application scenarios at industrial corporations. The whole VR hardware market, including sensors, cameras and computers, is currently undergoing a strong period of development. The content side, i.e. the applications, then follows suit. Almost everything is focused on games at the moment. “Serious” gaming for use in the B2B area is still underdeveloped. However, this will change. According to market researchers, hardware will generate far more sales than content in the consumer field this year. In 2018 however, they’re already expecting a slight increase in sales in the content field – and for 2020 forecasts suggest more than twice as many sales in the VR application field as in the VR hardware sector. Industrial applications will definitely play a role here.

In the photo:
Working with virtual reality. An engineer checks how easy it is to assemble a product here.

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