The consortium is using PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture AR technology and Microsoft’s HoloLens to capture the assembly steps and processes
➨ PTC and Microsoft are providing AR hardware and software to the consortium of companies known as VentilatorChallengeUK
➨ The swift transfer of knowledge and technical details will allow manufacturers to quickly switch their lines to help produce the high number of ventilators needed
➨ It is hoped that the use of AR technology will reduce lead times and avoid potential coronavirus transmission
The VentilatorChallengeUK consortium of UK businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors that have joined forces to produce medical ventilators as the jurisdiction battles the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is using AR technology to remotely share knowledge and expertise.
Computer services company PTC and Microsoft are providing AR hardware and software to the consortium of companies, known as VentilatorChallengeUK, to capture and transfer the necessary process knowledge from existing ventilator manufacturers Smiths Group and Penlon to participants Ford, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, GKN, Thales, BAE Systems, McLaren, Meggitt and Renishaw.
The swift transfer of knowledge and technical details will allow them to quickly switch their manufacturing lines to help produce the high number of ventilators needed, in response to the UK government’s call for extra capacity to support the National Health Service late last month.
The consortium is using PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture AR technology and Microsoft’s HoloLens to capture the assembly steps and processes involved in building ‘Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator Systems’ (RMVS).
Vuforia Expert Capture from PTC provides up-to-date, relevant information to workers in their daily environment using the Android handsfree RealWear HMT-1, Microsoft HoloLens, VR headsets and mobile devices.
Spatial intelligence from HoloLens’s location-aware functionality can also be used to safely guide front-line workers through multi-step procedures at different locations without compromising speed and accuracy.
Manufacturing steps and processes will be transferred to and edited in PTC’s Vuforia Editor, which runs on Microsoft Azure, before being relayed through HoloLens devices to the factories of VentilatorChallengeUK consortium partners.
It is hoped that the use of AR technology will reduce lead times and avoid potential coronavirus transmission by placing ‘virtual’ experts on the manufacturing floor.
Paul Haimes, vice president of business development and field engineering at PTC, described the consortium’s plan and collaboration as an “unprecedented” response to a crisis of equal weight.
He said: “This is an unprecedented response from UK manufacturing for an unprecedented crisis and a great example of British engineering and technology coming together. For every new ventilator produced, another life is potentially saved. All our efforts are committed to supporting the VentilatorChallengeUK.”