In our session Virtual Manufacturing: Immersive Technologies for
Industry 4.0 we will present VR Use Cases from Rolls Royce Germany and Bombardier Transportation live, discuss new possibilities and line up direct
effects for industry and manufacturers.
For the UNFOLD magazine Eva Werner paid a visit
to the Rolls Royce Factory in Berlin-Dahlewitz to examine their groundbreaking VR technology.
A new engine in five hours
If you get off the train on the way from Berlin to Rolls-Royce in Dahlewitz at the terminus of the S2 in Blankenfelde, you have left the big city behind you. Only the planes in the
sky, which take off and land in nearby Schoenefeld, give an idea of the closeness to Berlin. The multicultural background of the people arriving in Dahlewitz is striking. They all
have a common goal: the Rolls-Royce factory, 15 minutes by bus from Dahlewitz, which is located on a huge site with several large halls. 2,800 people from 50 nations work there. The aircraft
engine factory was founded in 1990, immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, as a joint venture with BMW. Ten years later BMW withdrew again. Since then the Dahlewitz factory has
been a fully owned subsidiary of Rolls-Royce in England. Some of the engines manufactured here are installed in the aircraft that now fly over Dahlewitz.
A visitor attraction at Rolls-Royce is the Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE in short), a room in which a three-dimensional virtual reality world is projected. It was developed in this
form especially for Dahlewitz. There, anyone can immerse themselves in virtual worlds - without the Head-Mounted- Display (HMD) otherwise common for Virtual Reality. Three walls and the
floor are used as screens. There is a master who puts on master glasses and holds a flystick in his hand. Both devices are equipped with Motion Capture, a tracking system that detects
movement to adjust the images you see. Other participants only need 3D glasses. The more closely they follow the master, the more similar their and his perception becomes. Together with the
Technical University of Cottbus, Rolls-Royce has developed this CAVE system with open design from 2010 to 2014.
Two years later, in 2016, the room was ready for use. Engineers can present current project states there, but also arrange kick-off meetings for new projects. The aim is to save money and time by
using Virtual Reality. A new model for a complete engine from an engineering database can be converted into a virtual reality model and presented in Dahlewitz in five to six hours.
Development engineer Stephan Rogge explains: "We simply extract the data for the engine from our system. All components are defined there". Years before the first component for an engine is
produced in hardware, the VR version of an engine with all 27,000 parts can thus be viewed from all sides. Anyone who wants to can stick their head through the openings into the interior.
However, if single parts do not fit through openings, they simply cut through the other material. A model that blocks if something does not fit through openings is still being worked on.
"Fortunately, there is little that can be broken virtually," says Stephan Rogge with a smile. So far, it is not yet a must for engineers to use virtual reality for their projects. "In future,
however, the use of virtual reality is to become an integral part of our processes," says press spokesman Stefan Wriege. "We want to use it to accelerate work processes everywhere. He cannot
say exactly how long this will take. Wriege is assuming a few months...
Continue the journey and join us at #mthcon2020 to hear more about recent
developments and future possibilities of VR technology in manufacturing and other industrial processes.