Virtual reality adds a new dimension to 3D modelling

Virtual reality (VR) is increasingly becoming part of various areas of life. VR is known best from the entertainment and gaming industries, but it also offers new opportunities for more traditional areas of technology. Comatec is bringing VR into the visualisation of 3D designs. When Comatec’s designs or the customer’s own models are made virtual, they can be entered by using VR headsets to see what the product will actually look like.

– Comatec has carried out 3D planning for a long time. We have now taken a step further and are able to visualise 3D models for our customers in VR, says Mikko Helminen, Business Unit Manager, Expert Services at Comatec.

– Using a VR headset to create a virtual field of vision around the user, 3D designs can be viewed as completed products in virtual reality.

– At Comatec, around 400 designers continuously produce 3D data that only needs a little additional work to be used in virtual reality. Virtual reality enables us to create added value for customers and illustrate the environment or product that we have been designing. Visualisations can also be carried out based on the customer’s own designs. Visualisation is suitable for all types of design, from trains and ships to work machines and factories, says Mikko.

Enter a design, using a VR headset

When using VR headsets in virtual reality, users can enter a design in an industrial hall, for example, to view various lines and their operations and move about in exactly the same manner as in an actual industrial hall. Users can walk about and look around inside a VR model and see how the model would work in their own production environment.

– When using VR headsets, it’s easier for those not familiar with 3D models to see how the design works in practice, as the product looks exactly the same inside the model as it will look in reality, Mikko explains.

Virtual reality shows operating situations and development needs

Making use of virtual reality provides customers with new types of benefits. Models can be used to study the functionality of access routes and the ergonomics, maintainability and appearance of operating sites. Users are able to see development needs in advance, which eliminates the need for costly modifications to completed structures.

– Since any needs for adjustments are easy to see inside the VR model, the cost of production decreases with the need for alterations to the finished product, says Mikko.

– Virtual models of 3D designs also reduce the need for prototypes. This may significantly decrease the time needed for product development, even if the time used for design remains the same. It also reduces the total cost, as prototypes are expensive.

– In addition, models can be used to carry out safety inspections and make any necessary adjustments before the design is implemented, Mikko continues.

– The safety of machinery and equipment improves when their visibility can be improved as early as the planning phase.

– Models can also be used to provide users with training before anything has been implemented in practice.

– In a VR model, it’s possible to examine the design from the user’s perspective. For example, a playground can be seen and reviewed from a child’s perspective.