EXPO REPORT: Virtual reality on display

by Joel Crews
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Process
Visitors to the VR Showroom can see what participants in the demonstrations are seeing on monitors that are mounted in the booth.
 
CHICAGO – One of the new features creating a buzz at the 2017 Process Expo is the Virtual Reality Showroom. Eight companies are offering visitors the chance to interact with their technology and equipment using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality-based hardware and software provided by Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based ANT Automation LLC.

Wearing a headset, visitors can look at food processing equipment in three dimensions and watch demonstrations of the technology in action. “You can walk around the machine, operate the machine, see how it works and understand how it works from another perspective, in a virtual reality world,” said Javier Barreio, engineering manager with ANT.

The applications for the technology include marketing, technical training, maintenance and monitoring. The technology is somewhat of a novelty in the food processing industry, but has been adopted and has delivered benefits for users of it in other manufacturing settings. “Manufacturers of equipment are very interested in how they can remotely support customers using virtual reality,” Barreiro said. The opportunities for equipment companies to better meet the needs of their processor customers are increased significantly using VR by linking equipment, users and manufacturers via internet-based cloud technology, allowing for engineers to remotely troubleshoot problems based on real-time data collected from processing machines. “This allows two people to be interacting in the same scenario,” said Barreiro.

Process
Eight companies are participating in the Virtual Reality Showroom, one of the new offerings featured at the 2017 Process Expo. 
 
Companies sponsoring the VR Showroom include: Risco, Grote Co., Admix, Avure Technologies, Mettler Toledo, Fornisud, SPX Flow Inc. and Pick Heaters Inc. The VR Showroom is located in Booths 3422 and 3425 on the show floor with demonstrations during show hours through Sept. 22.

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