“It’s not a revolution. It’s an evolution and we are right in the middle of it with Stereoscape.” Mika Karaila, Research Program Manager, Valmet, Automation Business Line
Valmet Corporation is a leading global developer and supplier of technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. With a long-term vision of developing solutions that take the industry to the next level, Valmet is also committed to developing new ways to utilise the Industrial Internet and advanced communication technologies.
Together with Stereoscape, Valmet created a groundbreaking demo that introduces Valmet’s latest achievements in Industrial Internet into a solution that integrates data from physical machinery to a virtual reality environment to facilitate maintenance.
The Solution – 3D replica in virtual reality combined with maintenance data from remote real machinery
The demo that Valmet created together with Stereoscape brings maintenance data from a real boiler plant in another location to a virtual environment with a 3D model of the boiler. The data are visualised on the 3D replica in virtual reality. In the virtual environment, technicians can monitor the status of the equipment, such as tube wall thickness. With the help of effective visualisation techniques, anomalies can be easily spotted at a glance. Real-time measurement data on temperatures and pump running times can also be integrated in the virtual replica.
The demo was created using Vizard VR development platform from Stereoscape’s technology partner WorldViz and it was used with HTC Vive virtual reality head-mounted display. Stereoscape provided Valmet’s application development with technology consultancy in virtual reality software solutions and software development support for proof of concept. Stereoscape was also responsible for optimising the 3D models for virtual reality and together with its partner WorldViz, provided support in the use of Vizard platform.
The results and benefits – Taking preventive maintenance to the next level
In the demo, Valmet and Stereoscape showed a completely new window to how much more efficient, cost-effective, and fast preventive maintenance of machines and processes can be. A boiler plant inspection typically produces a 300-page pdf file. Presenting the same data on a virtual replica in an immersive 3D environment takes maintenance to the next level.
The solution allows the maintenance workers to take a virtual tour inside and around the machinery, inspecting the condition of equipment and identifying maintenance needs at one glance in a highly visual environment.
Maintenance instructions could be included as visual representation for the maintenance technician to see what exact tools and parts are needed for the repairs without having to read heavy manuals.
The solution also has built in interactivity that allows the users to navigate within the model and, for example, directly teleport to certain predetermined locations. That way, if a part needs to be replaced or repaired it is easy to see in advance how they can be accessed.
The virtual reality model also serves as a tool for maintenance training. The maintenance worker can be sent on site better prepared for the tasks ahead – no matter how rarely occurring they are – as he has been able to practise in virtual reality.
Stereoscape’s expertise and competent VR team with thorough knowledge of hardware and software served as the perfect supplement to Valmet’s application development for producing the groundbreaking demo. The team had what it takes to create visualisations that work in a virtual reality environment, expertise in connecting the virtual objects with the data and the in-depth knowhow in interactivity to create navigation within the model. Partnering with the best, Stereoscape could also bring valuable support into the project from WorldViz, the industry leader in professional VR and developer of Vizard VR platform.
“The support provided by Stereoscape was spot on to our needs; fast, efficient, and knowledgeable.” Mika Karaila, Research Program Manager, Valmet, Automation Business Line