Efficient Plant March 2018 - 11

feature | industry views

Modeling Manufacturing Complexes
Santanu Das, senior vice president of design
engineering, Bentley Systems Inc., Exton, PA
bentley.com

From design to operations, we
continue to see the increased value
of virtual-reality technology in
manufacturing plants. For instance,
plants engaging in brownfield engineering
and building projects can use virtual-reality
technology to capture and model the existing context of the site to
make informed decisions, and to create conceptual and detailed
engineering designs.
Using drone and LiDAR [laser imaging, dectection, and

ranging] technology to capture images, and then processing the
images with photogrammetry software, engineers can create
engineering-ready 3D models of entire manufacturing complexes-buildings, production facilities, roads, and parking areas. It is
especially helpful to create new reality meshes in situations where
existing-plant site surveys are incomplete or non-existent, or where
plants have merged.
The engineering models and corresponding data collected from
sensors within the plant can be used from design through construction, and then into operations and maintenance to inform
day-to-day decisions that help to optimize plant performance.
Drones can then be used to inspect areas that may be dangerous or
difficult to reach, which makes the inspection process safer and less
time consuming. Virtual representations of real-time conditions
provide improved visibility, which can help mitigate safety hazards,
costly equipment failures, or process interruptions.

Guiding Workers

Training, Productivity, Safety

Steven Lustig, vice president

Youssef Mestari, program director,

of engineering, East West

Honeywell Connected Plant, Houston

Manufacturing, Atlanta

honeywellprocess.com

ewmfg.com

In manufacturing, AR/
VR will first be used-and
is already being used-for
complex manufacturing where an
assembler has a series of detailed steps to perform (think
aerospace). AR/VR guides the worker instead of the
person constantly referring to written work instructions.
It will also be used to monitor and control equipment in
a factory. For example, you would look at the line and
machine performance (run rate) and health (pressure,
temperature, etc.) would be displayed. A simple gesture
or tap would make changes instead of pushing physical
buttons on the machine.
As to why VR/AR will take hold? It's pretty basic. The
technology provides remote access to experts and allows
people to virtually see the same things even when in
different places. The convenience and cost savings are
a benefit to large companies, certainly, but especially to
small- and medium-sized operations.

MARCH 2018

I see the biggest impacts of augmented/
virtual reality (AR/VR) in three areas of
manufacturing. One is competency development, where drastically reduced training
times of as much as 60% and increased retention
rates of as much as 100% can be achieved by immersive on-demand
training. AR/VR simulation allows workers to learn specific job activities by doing them, while safely experiencing the consequences of their
decisions.
Another area is worker productivity. Mobility tools using AR/VR can
connect people and assets in the field. For example, intelligent wearables
enable a worker to see the status of a field asset while at the same time
pulling up maintenance procedures. Or-if the manual is insufficient-
the worker can connect with a subject-matter expert, who can see
exactly what the field worker sees.
Last, but not least, AR/VR technology improves safety. Proper
training and the options of accessing information on demand or getting
expert help immediately when needed increase safety. Overall, AR/VR
technology empowers workers to directly improve plant performance,
uptime, reliability, and safety.
EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM |

11


http://www.bentley.com http://www.honeywellprocess.com http://www.ewmfg.com http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

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