August 14, 2018updated 04 Jan 2019 4:45pm

Industrial VR in action: Water industry embraces virtual reality

By Lucy Ingham

The water industry is finding benefits in virtual reality (VR) technology, in one of the latest applications for industrial VR.

Water solutions provider Xylem has confirmed that it has successfully trialled VR technology with customers, and is now rolling-out the technology across its applications.

By using virtual simulations created using 3D CAD models of its different pump station layouts, the company is able to more effectively visualise its offerings to customers. This approach allows them to walk through virtual renderings of different products, allowing them to more effectively understand how they will be used or what problems may arise.

“VR is a particularly promising technology for the water industry because it allows the supply chain and owner operators to collaborate in the same virtual environment and identify problems before construction, for example the position and accessibility of valves,” explained Jamie Mills, systems engineer for Xylem UK & Ireland.

“3D visualisation is also the best way to present complex benching and baffle design which has benefits for both construction and design review. Leveraging technology in this way drives key efficiencies for capital deliver and asset management.”

The growth of industrial VR

While virtual reality has gained the most attention as a consumer product for entertainment and gaming, it is industrial VR that is increasingly showing the most potential.

For Xylem, which initially trailed the technology at its office in Sundbyberg, Stockholm, it was an opportunity to improve customer accessibility.

“Our first trials with customers were a huge success,” said Adam Sheehan, pump station design specialist at Xylem Flygt.

“We were able to use specialist software to generate an accurate virtual ‘tour’ of a complex pumping station, which allowed our customers to understand how it would work in-situ.

“We were also able to present multiple options to the customer, so that they could compare the performance of different pump station simulations.”

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