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Agricultural and construction equipment company CNH is using an Activewall HD immersive visualisation suite from Virtalis at its facility in Zedelgem, Belgium, to conduct collaborative design reviews.

Virtalis has also previously installed virtual-reality systems at the company’s offices in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in Burr Ridge, Illinois, and in Modena, Italy.

Kezhun Li, head of digital prototyping and simulation at CNH, said: ’We use our virtual-reality systems on a daily basis to conduct collaborative design reviews.

’In Belgium, the focus is on the development of forage harvesters, large hay balers and European combines.

’The fact that we’ve now managed to link up our team in Belgium with their international colleagues, especially those in Lancaster where similar product lines are developed, has led to a great deal less international travel and accelerated development schedules,’ added Li.

The Virtalis Activewall HD configuration in CNH Zedelgem’s custom-built building features a 25 x 14ft (8 x 4m) Powerwall, which has been slightly sunken into the floor so that the combine harvesters and balers can drive out of the wall in full stereoscopic 3D, provided by a Christie Mirage HD18 projector.

Virtalis implemented a tailored Intersense IS900 Wired Vetracker system to maximise natural movement around the virtual models.

The head-mounted displays (HMDs) chosen were Nvisor SXs from NVIS.

As the virtual models that CNH creates have more than 20,000 parts, compute power and graphics rendering capability are vital.

The latest Virtalis systems at CNH feature a 64-bit, quad-core workstation coupled with an Nvidia FX5600 graphics card.

Jeroen De Neve, simulation engineer at CNH in Belgium, said: ’With the ability to adjust everything on screen, we’ve quickly become less forgiving of rework and have already had great success with our safety reviews for our new combines.

’The fact that we were able to hold these safety reviews at three locations simultaneously undoubtedly saved a great deal of time.

’We were concerned about the position of service steps and whether they were sufficiently far from hot components and rails.

’We were able to measure the actual distance on the virtual model, so what would have become an “action item” on an agenda was addressed straight away.

’In the span of only two or three hours, we completed the whole collaborative process, without anyone travelling and with answers, nine months before the launch,’ added De Neve.

The CNH team has also used its Activewall to develop cabs and to carry out styling reviews for the products designed in Zedelgem.

In addition, the company is using its Virtalis systems for market research and marketing.

Each new program hosts a couple of day-long focus groups where the interior and exterior styling, initial impressions and control positions and visibility are all monitored.

Li continued: ’The latest Zedelgem installation is so intuitive to use, there is no need for a dedicated virtual-reality expert to run it.

’The technology’s accessibility allows our users to work hands on,’ added Li.

Virtalis is a world-leading Virtual Reality (VR) and advanced visualisation company.

Our products and systems give you the chance to really understand your information and your data, to interact with it and to foster communication.

Whatever your industry or role, we can prove that advanced visualisation, simulation and VR offer a valuable return on investment. We will arm you with an essential set of tools to improve your competitive position, make your life more efficient and reduce risk.

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