Unipart started to build a data infrastructure topology that connects every software data used of the product lifecycle process from design to manufacturing paving the way to facilitate the introduction and adoption of emerging technologies such as immersive (AR/VR). The outcome was a digital collaboration platform.
Frances Hamilton, Founder of Direc-Tec said: “Data is the foundation to enable all the new smart technologies and innovations such as Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR), Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT) while making sure the company making or designing the item is in control of their data ecosystem.
“Our job was to erase data silos - this meant capturing all the data involved in design through to manufacture, across multiple parties both internal and external - and create an end to end data supply chain with a single source of the truth. We were then able to use that data as the baseline for the project and integrate it with all the software systems of record such as ERP, PLM, MES etc and create a database for all non-standard items such as NDA’s, design briefs and so on.
With the digital thread enabled, changes made by the design team because of performance or customer requirements are immediately flagged upstream to all other interested parties such as procurement, quality, manufacturing, logistics etc. This update can be shared with suppliers through Direc-Tec’s Online Supplier Management portal and collaborate on the impact of that change in terms of cost and lead time. The design team can see and get involved in those discussions through the portal, thus speeding up the communication and change freeze processes; shifting the whole process to the left.
In addition, Masters of Pie was able to take advantage of this single source of truth to implement a real-time immersive design solution that accelerates the design review process improving the communication of design changes between Unipart and its suppliers. The VR solution integrates with computer-aided design (CAD) software allowing geographically dispersed design engineering teams to seamless review and sign off without needing to export the data into standalone applications.
Karl Maddix, CEO of Masters of Pie, said: “Our role was to bring all that complex 3D data together and deliver an immersive solution that complements the existing workflows.”
“The outcome is a collaborative VR solution that will allow design and engineering teams to walk around, review, and interact with a 3D life-size model in real-time in a way that is not possible using a flatscreen”.
“Collaborative VR is a step change from the conferencing platforms that have held everyone together through the pandemic. You can bring a 3D model into a room and walk around it, touch it, move it.”