Augmented Reality on the Shop Floor:
Embedded Ocean and MRstudios Announce Partnership, Present New Technologies and Use Cases
Munich / Prague, July2022: German industrial software company Embedded Ocean and Czech industrial VR/AR company MRstudios have entered a long-term partnership with the goal of combining their expertise to create state-of-the-art 3D/AR/VR applications for the industrial shop floor environment. Embedded Ocean provides Xentara, its industrial platform that gives access to machines and real-time data, while MRstudios creates high end 3D machine models and develops powerful AR/VR applications. The partnership has already borne its first fruit – the MRstudios Immersive Manufacturing Toolkit, powered by Xentara, will be made available in app stores in summer 2022.
The cooperation combines extensive know-how on Industrial Automation with longstanding experience in 3D modeling and AR/VR technologies. It aims at revolutionizing the way humans primarily interact with machines in the manufacturing industry by adding cutting-edge Human Machine Interface (HMI) technologies. Mobile devices like tablets or smartphones will take the role of control panels. Using VR headsets, operators will be able to work with Digital Twins, enabling them to dive right into the heart of a device, an ability that will be especially valuable for remote maintenance.
“In MRstudios we have found the perfect partner for realizing our ideas of unfettering interfaces and data visualization from legacy HMIs like machine-mounted screens and button arrays, allowing us to implement entirely new and innovative use cases,” explains Philipp Kirschenhofer, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Embedded Ocean. “Since both our companies possess extensive complementary know-how and experience, this partnership is a perfect match that will empower and enrich both parties.”
By pooling their knowledge, the two companies are paving the way for introducing some of today’s most advanced technologies to the manufacturing industry – one of the industries most resistant to change. In recent years, AI and machine learning have become more commonplace in the factory ecosystem. The partners hope to see the usage of AR and VR on the factory shop floor follow the same trajectory – moving away from being a niche towards mainstream adoption.
When asked about what led to the cooperation, Nils Meinhardt, General Manager at MRstudios, adds: “The idea to bring our AR/VR expertise to the industrial shop floor had been simmering for a while. But we were missing a solid foundation of data access and machine communication to obtain the necessary information to visualize. With Xentara we finally have a platform at our disposal that can provide all the data and interfaces we need transparently and in real-time.”
The MRstudios Immersive Manufacturing Toolkit
At the moment, performance data of shop floors or singular machines is, at best, displayed on the machine itself or on a central screen. Until now, Plant Managers, Team Leaders and Operators have not had modern means to efficiently monitor production quality and quantity data in order to meaningfully interact with these crucial KPIs. The Xentara-powered Immersive Manufacturing Toolkit reinvents shop floor data management, making big data manageable, and connecting datasets with the locations where they are generated.
The application provides a “scale of universe” type view from the entire operation down to single sensors and actuators. This fine-grained scalability allows all personnel to interact with the machines at their corresponding levels in an immersive manner using AR/VR. Thus, Operators are able to immediately spot issues with equipment, and are directed to the exact machine part causing the problem while Team Leaders can monitor entire production lines and analyze issues causing problems to the overall flow. Plant Managers can maintain a high-level bird’s eye perspective but also easily obtain additional detailed information when requested by “zooming” in.
Another use for the App is making machine operation, maintenance and repairs easier, faster and safer for operators or maintenance personnel. The application’s AR toolset uses interactive guidance to ensure proper machine set-up and running when restarting or changing machine parameters. It also guides maintenance personnel as they perform scheduled maintenance jobs and supports repair procedures in case of unplanned machine stops. All-in-all the application prevents problems during operation, increases production quality and output, as well as helps to solve issues faster and is less costly compared to traditional approaches.
The partners are already planning another Xentara-enabled application aimed at system integrators in which industrial equipment, lines and shop floors can be previsualized, simulated and experienced in the planning stage of a factory. This “digital blueprint” built from the very beginning will be growing into the Digital Twin of any operation, which will provide real-time data on active processes and systems.
Xentara – the fast track to Smart Industry
Embedded Ocean’s unique software suite combines all aspects of Smart Industry and Industrial IoT. Capable of running on any modern Industrial PC and – at the same time – providing an even higher degree of deterministic real-time computation than any legacy control-system, Xentara finally brings control logic to the next level allowing for a much higher degree of freedom in selecting the modeling tool or even high-level programming language of your choice. Xentara adds both Machine-to-Everything (M2X) communication layers utilizing standard IP-based networking but also industrial fieldbus support. A multitude of modern Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) particularly relying on modern Apple and Android based applications as well as Augmented and Virtual Reality support enables an unparalleled user interaction and user experience providing original equipment manufacturers (OEM) with state-of-the-art technology making machine interaction a seamless experience. Truly paradigm shifting is Xentara’s ability to run local Artificial Intelligence right at the core of every machine without the need to connect to any cloud, keeping valuable process data inside the machine and enabling immediate results to already optimize for the next workpiece. A Skill marketplace assures future expendability.