Virtual reality (VR) continues to be used for a number of different applications and one such area it is seeing continued development is with manufacturing. Now, a team from the Integrated Manufacturing Group (IMG) at the University of Sheffield‘s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) has worked with Doncaster-based Clarks Vehicle Conversion to showcase how it can adopt VR technology into their design stages of converting vehicle.
As reported on the High Value Manufacturing Capapult website, the vehicle conversion firm is showing how VR can boost their productivity and reduce turnaround times for designing and producing vehicles for customers. Clarks Vehicle Conversions (CVC) is known for working on vehicles such as welfare vans, lifestyle vehicles and crew carries, ensuring they are kitted out accordingly. Some of the customers that they have worked with include firms such as National Rail, Enterprise and Lex Autolease.
CVC’s current workflow is for their team of fitters, electricians, engineers, mechanics and designers to build a physical prototype for the customer in order to showcase what they can do for that job. Once that has been approved after many changes, work can start on the final product. By using VR the company will be able to take this prototype stage and handle it all within an immersive 3D space. This would offer clients the same level of detail and hands-on experience as reviewing a real-world model but would reduce production time and cost.
The company has reported that the use of VR technology has the potential to reduce the ‘order to manufacture’ turnaround from around six weeks to 30 minutes, given the right tools. IMG’s project manager for SMEs, Matt Bacon said: “CVC knew they wanted to utilise VR technology in regards to kitting out vans but didn’t know how to go about it or what the technology is used for, what the benefits are and which is the best tech to use. They just knew it was there, holistically.
“It was up to us within that five days to demonstrate the functionality of some of this VR kit specifically.” Bacon continued: “We wanted to show them what we could do and what was achievable.”
Thanks to this inclusion of VR into the company workflow, CVC has now employed prototype build engineers to help build their digital prototypes. As they continue to trial the technology VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest so stay tuned for more.