VRMT (Virtual Reality Machine Training) was formed in 2018 to bring VR to the glass bottle manufacturing industry. Its unique software tool helps improve training without any effect on production while working in a safe environment. Co-founder Tony Pawinski reveals more
VRWT: What is the background of VRMT?
Tony Pawinski: VRMT is a relatively new company at two-and-a-half years and is owned by Mark Henshaw and myself. Mark is a bespoke machine designer by trade and I am an engineer who has worked in the glass bottle manufacturing industry for 32 years.
We have worked on machine design projects together many times over the last two decades. Mark is a self-taught VR programmer and is responsible for all the actual coding, but we also employ a coder on a ‘when needed’ basis who works on the majority of the multi-user functions. I am responsible for all other parts of the business, including obtaining the information required for Mark to code the app.
VRWT: What is your solution for glass manufacturing and what problems does it solve?
Tony Pawinski: The glass bottle manufacturing process requires people to work on machines that are unguarded (in the traditional sense), which have rotating parts and hot glass falling from height. At the same time, people interface with these machines for mold lubrication, machine adjustment and so on, which can be considered high-risk activities. The process is also heavily dependent on a multitude of variables, many of which are heat-related. Our app allows for safe and immersive training on the dangerous activities, but also the black art of setting the machine. It is also a system that has enormous green credentials because it can mitigate and/or reduce the need for traveling because training can be carried out without a company moving from its training headquarters—the trainer and trainee no longer have to be in the same geographical location.
VRWT: How receptive is the glass manufacturing industry to training in VR? Has it embraced your solution, or is there education required to demonstrate its benefits?
Tony Pawinski: The glass bottle manufacturing is a huge industry—one client alone has a turnover of $ 6.5 billion. Already we have secured the biggest three glass companies in the world (US, Europe and the UK). They have all been evaluating it over the last seven months or so and all three are looking to purchase further units in the next three months. We also have several other small customers, one of which is purchasing a third unit. In the last three months, we have made contact and/or given presentations to other companies in the US, Europe and even South Africa. In summary, we have had great feedback and support from the glass industry even at this very early stage of our journey.
VRWT: What do you offer to help your customers get the most out of your solution?
Tony Pawinski: Our software is continually developing and our customers give us the direction they want. As long as it is commercially viable to all of our customers, we give them that. For example, one customer wanted an in-depth fire fighting module and another wanted an event called ‘section jam’. We did both of these and now they are embedded into our software. All downloads are done remotely as long as they have a subscription. On average, we download a new version every two months or so and send release notes prior to the remote download.
VRWT: What do you have in store for 2020?
Tony Pawinski: We are working on a major part of ‘glass forming in the feeder’, which is the stage of manufacture prior to making a glass bottle. This currently isn’t available anywhere in the world and will take our immersive learning to another level.