July 10, 2015
The designers at Atlas Copco’s Industrial Design Competence Center streamline innovation processes and ensure the success rate by utilizing 3D printing and combining it with other techniques into an efficient and structured method. Making things tangible, quickly and cost-effectively helps to align project groups, focus on relevant issues and deliver innovative results.
At the Industrial Design Competence Center everybody is going all-in to help project groups to design better products faster. “For us efficiency and innovation are closely interconnected and we are constantly seeking ways to improve our processes, tools and competence in order to get to better solutions quicker”, explained Alex Liebert the manager of the center.
Often referred to, as the next industrial revolution, 3D printing covers only the physical aspect of many promising technologies. Instead of only making products and components tangible earlier, the center helps to enhance products with valuable digital content utilizing promising technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality.*
“We help to accelerate innovation, decision processes and problem solving by making your vision tangible combining rapid visualization techniques such as 3D printing, mock-ups, hifi-prototyping, animation and info graphics”, said Sisirnath Sangireddy, Specialist User Experience.
Aligning a project group early by providing both visionary view and tangible examples to streamline discussions is invaluable for innovation and efficiency. “We facilitate innovation workshops utilizing 3D printing combined with LEGO to provide hands-on visualizations of the relevant issues that excel a project group forward”, explained Daniel Sellberg, Manager Vehicle Design. The advantages of these co-creation workshops are shorter development cycles, synergy effects and even unique selling propositions.
Utilizing the center’s rapid cabin mock-up tool box combined with 3D printing different concepts of components, the designers quickly create a collaboration platform that enables a project group to understand complex and interfering aspects during cabin development early. Martin Larsson, Manager Product Design pointed out: “We meet around the cabin mock-up, test ergonomics, verify operator line-of-sight, conduct usability tests with real operators, optimize cable and air-channel flows and evaluate design solutions to stream line and enable parallel processes.”
Providing solid usability test environments that enable project groups to evaluate customers’ experience with full-functional software and hardware interfaces before the R&D project are even started. As part of a feasibility study the designers combine Hifi-prototyping with 3D printing to create a usability test. These tests deliver hard data about the customer satisfaction opportunities, the customer acceptance and the training efficiency of a new control system containing both hardware components such as joysticks, buttons and dials and software components such as screen interfaces.
“We are currently developing virtual reality services to enable our customers to experience our products in their environment and under the circumstances of choice,” described Mia Olsson, Manager Visualization Technique. Instead of inviting a customer into a mine to watch from a safe distance, now the customer is able to experience the product up-close from the safety of a Customer Center.
The design center also works on augmented reality services to overlay reality with valuable information for production, training and service situations. Rather than to access relevant data about the product through a manual or a computer, the goal is to feed the information right into the beholder’s vision.
Hifi-prototyping is the technique to create quick and fully functional representations of a designconcept to allow the user to truly experience the planned interaction before the product is developed.
Virtual reality is is a computer-simulated environment that can simulate physical presence in places in the real world or imagined worlds.
Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.