Monday, November 12, 2018

News: Virtual reality helps historic manufacturer

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Historic glass manufacturer Beatson Clark has commissioned a 3D virtual model of its Rotherham factory to help new recruits and others understand the glass-making process.

The Greasbrough Road firm, which has been making glass bottles and jars in Rotherham since 1751, specialises in providing glass packaging solutions for niche brands in the food, drink and pharmaceutical markets worldwide.

Working with virtual reality experts, VRMT a new training system has been developed to help staff with training to operate complex production machines.

It is hard for staff to get inside the process. The furnace must be capable of reaching 1,600 degrees centigrade and the working temperature of the molten glass mixture is approximately 1,100 degrees centigrade.

The training program recreates a lifelike 3D virtual model of the factory and allows new IS machine operators to fully understand the bottle forming process and identify faults.

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Trevor Phillips, production and engineering director at Beatson Clark, said: "We have been working closely with VRMT for several months to develop the program, which is the first of its kind to be used by a glass manufacturer anywhere in the world.

"Trying to learn the glass forming process from a book, or even on the shop floor, is difficult because the trainee cannot see exactly what is happening, so it takes quite a while to grasp.

"Because the virtual machine is highly visual the trainee becomes immersed in the program –rather like when you're engrossed in a good movie – and it becomes easier to recall what has happened.

"Currently the VR program is training machine operators, but in future we can also use it to provide detailed refresher training for existing staff."

Tony Pawinski from VRMT added: "Trevor showed great vision in the early days and immediately saw the future potential of VR for revolutionising IS training, not just for machine operators new and old but also for a whole raft of personnel who are indirectly involved with the production of glass containers."

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The VR setup will also be used as an engaging tool at upcoming trade shows. Beatson Clark will be exhibiting once again at BrauBeviale, the world's leading exhibition for the beverage production process chain, in Nuremberg, Germany this week.

The company will also be showcasing its spirits bottles and packaging service at the Spirits Packaging Summit at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

Beatson Clark website

Images: Beatson Clark

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