CNH, a world leader in the agricultural and construction equipment business, has installed six Virtalis Virtual Reality (VR) systems at locations in the US, Brazil and Italy to complement four existing VR systems in place at the company.
The six systems comprise three fully tracked ActiveWalls in US cities Burlington and Fargo, and in Lecce, Italy, plus two 3D TV systems installed at locations in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Wichita, US, and a Head Mounted Display (HMD) based system, known as an ActiveSpace, equipped at a facility in Curitiba, US.
“Our Virtalis VR systems are used to host design reviews, manufacturability reviews, training sessions and even focus groups”, said Andrew Brokaw, CNH design analysis engineer. “The use of this system allows us to create and work with virtual prototypes to streamline and strengthen the overall design process. Our ActiveWalls are all compatible and of a very similar design. They have undoubtedly saved a great deal of travelling, as engineers can now meet virtually, collaborate and consult with each other over the model in real-time. As a result, our VR centers are used daily by small and large groups. We asked Virtalis what was feasible for us and they have designed and supplied the best technical specification.”
The Virtalis ActiveWall is an installed, immersive, interactive 3D visualisation system that is the industry benchmark for both price and performance. ActiveWall is Virtalis’ best selling interactive 3D visualisation system and probably the best selling VR system in the world. CNH’s ActiveWalls are managed by a controller that actually operates the model in the virtual scene. This means they can be used for both control testing and operator training.
The ActiveSpace is an interactive 3D visualisation system using an HMD that provides an immersive experience. The principal advantage of ActiveSpace is that its users have the freedom and flexibility to move around in their virtual environment, totally unencumbered, whilst experiencing 360º views. At CNH’s Burr Ridge site, the ActiveWall is linked to an ActiveSpace to enable one user to be fully immersed while his tracked movements are followed by the audience viewing the ActiveWall stereoscopically. This can be used for anything from analysing assembly processes to ergonomic analysis of visibility.
Alex Theis, a project engineer working alongside the Product Validation Group at CNH Burlington, IA, explained: “Our VR capability has fundamentally changed the way we do business. Thanks to our VR systems, our product engineers are tackling manufacturing challenges at an early stage in the design cycle. Redesigning in this fashion is all prior to the physical prototype stage, allowing us to reduce waste stream, as all parts fit as designed.”
CNH’s use of VR during the last decade has not only significantly shortened its design cycle, but increased communication between other stakeholders, including customers too. Virtual mannequins are deployed to interact with the virtual prototype to test for safety, ease of servicing and operability. The ability to brainstorm in 3D has led to the CNH design engineers feeling that they are ahead of the curve technologically. “Our customers have reacted positively to the VR experience, because they feel like we are showing them the future, which we are! After these sessions, we not only identify problems in VR, we solve them too,” Theis finished.