Widnes thermal engineering firm, Genlab, has created a virtual reality simulation of its entire factory to increase productivity.
It’s been supported by LCR 4.0 – a European funded Liverpool programme to help manufacturers take advantage of the “4th industrial revolution.”
The Virtual Engineering Centre worked alongside Genlab to create a digital replica of its factory floor, to examine whether a change in layout would increase efficiency.
As a result of the data collected from the VR simulation, it has reduced the assembly time of each product by 30 minutes, a 5% increase in productivity, with the potential to increase annual output by 20%.
“Before approaching the LCR 4.0 project, we knew the impact that new technologies could have on a business, but we lacked the capacity and specialist knowledge to explore what exactly it could mean for us and how we could harness it,” said Phil Crompton, finance director at Genlab.
“This collaboration has enabled us to review our internal structure quickly and easily, without risk or interruption to our daily operations. Factory simulation has validated our ambitions to grow the business and our presence in Widnes and the wider Liverpool City Region.”
Dr Andy Levers, technical director at the VEC and LCR 4.0 lead, added:
“The work with Genlab is a great representation of how traditional manufacturers can benefit from new digital technologies, without having to make a huge investment.
“This approach paves the way for future innovation as it gives operational managers greater insight into how and where to collect valuable data from.”
Genlab is now exploring the usage of the industrial Internet of Things and virtual prototyping.