The visualisation suite is the latest addition to the AFRC’s armoury of industrial scale kit and digital manufacturing capability, and sees the centre integrate fully immersive virtual and augmented reality technologies with the wider Industry 4.0/smart manufacturing theme.

At the heart of the suite is a 10 sq m Virtalis Active Wall, a fixed 3D stereoscopic projection system with head and hand tracking system that allows multiple users to view 3D content stereoscopically. The AFRC also has a portable ‘Active Move’ system that can be taken to industrial premises. Further kit installed includes a HTC Vive, an Oculus Rift and Touch, and various items of Microsoft, Apple, Google and Samsung equipment.

Danny McMahon, AFRC's team lead on digital manufacturing, says: “The whole manufacturing sector is seeing a shift towards digital manufacturing, in line with Industry 4.0, and visualisation plays a crucial role in this. The type of capability we have here at the AFRC can really help companies of all sizes to embrace digital manufacturing.

“Working on fully-immersive virtual and augmented reality, we create content for companies, allowing them to test different scenarios, such as the use of space, changes to the production line and implementing new equipment,” he continues. “This can help significantly in terms of planning and reducing wasted time, effort and money.

The development of the visualisation suite marks a significant milestone in the partnership between the AFRC and Virtalis.

Guenter Dahm, Virtalis Group CEO, says: “As a supplier of transformative visualisation technology to manufacturers, the valuable network the AFRC creates gives us a forum to discuss the aspirations of industrial leaders and pursue collaborative projects. These projects help to improve the performance of companies and potentially gain competitive advantage.”