Software

Machine builders are pioneers in Virtual Reality

| Editor: Steffen Donath

Augmented Reality and virtual reality have already arrived in mechanical and plant engineering.
Augmented Reality and virtual reality have already arrived in mechanical and plant engineering. (Source: insung yoon (Unsplash))

More than one in three companies (34 %) in mechanical and plant engineering use augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) — twice as many as a year ago (17 %).

While 34 % of machine and plant manufacturers have already discovered AR and VR for themselves, only 15 % use the technologies across all sectors. This is the result of a representative survey conducted by Bitkom Research on behalf of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

VR and AR support employees in various business areas such as process, energy, supply, production and electrical engineering. Typical applications are visual support in education and training, maintenance, assembly, animation, simulation and prototyping. “Data goggles can show production employees exactly where to place welding points or guide service technicians through the individual maintenance steps,” says Santu Mandal, Head-Manufacturing Business Unit at TCS in Germany. “Employees are thus supported and errors are reduced.”

The frequent use of VR and AR is reflected in the jobs created and planned: Almost a third (32 %) of the machine and plant manufacturers have already hired the appropriate specialists. In the future, VR or AR designers will be found in more than half of the companies (51 %). This is significantly more than in other sectors: On average for the economy as a whole, future demand will be around 26 %.

Digital pioneers

“Mechanical and plant engineering companies rely particularly frequently on innovations and already utilise many potentials much more consistently than other industries,” says Santu Mandal. “In the past, companies were technological pioneers and the signs are good that they will remain so in the digital world.”

Machine and plant manufacturers are also pioneers in other technologies: 38 % use 3D printing (total: 19 %) and 23 % robotics (total: 14 %). In general, 77 % of companies are open-minded about digitisation, 15 % of which are even very open-minded. As in other industries, about half of the companies have a person who coordinates digitisation across departments. Below average, companies rely on independent digitisation units (32 % compared to 36 % for the overall average).

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