BT, Ericsson get all Industry 4.0 with Hyperbat
Hyperbat, a UK-based vehicle battery manufacturer, has teamed up with BT, Ericsson and graphics card specialist Nvidia to create what they claim will be a "world first" 5G virtual reality (VR) digital twin solution.
By allowing collaboration between remote Hyperbat teams in the UK, using an interactive virtual 3D engineering model, the idea is to "significantly speed up" the manufacturing process for hybrid and electric vehicle production.
BT and Ericsson are responsible for rolling out the 5G mobile private network, replete with edge compute, to support what was billed as an Industry 4.0 solution. It will connect Hyperbat's design, engineering and manufacturing teams based in Coventry and Oxfordshire.
According to Hyperbat and its partners, the "untethered 5G native experience" will allow design and engineering teams – kitted out with the "world's first" 5G-enabled VR headset, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform – to walk around and interact with a 3D life-size hologram model through a "single self-contained device."
They will be able to review designs in real time and, if all goes to plan, manage workflows much more effectively.
Masters of Pie, a specialist in connecting different teams in various industry sectors to boost productivity, is also part of the project. The VR headset will run on the Masters of Pie Radical platform, enabling Hyperbat to use cloud-based VR within computer-aided design software.
The Grid Factory, which describes itself as "delivering XR experiences from cloud compute systems," completes the project team.
Hyperbat said the 5G-based 3D engineering model was near completion, and that results from its collaboration with BT et al. were expected in "early summer."
"The solution is mainly targeted at collaborative mobile workforce with the use of 5G native headsets and seamless integration of design and manufacturing systems with the digital twin technologies," explained Hosein Torabmostaedi, innovation manager at Unipart.
Hyperbat is a joint venture between Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group – but there are more Industry 4.0-type plans in the pipeline.
"[We aim] to extend the solution to the use of 5G connectivity for machines to enable configurable and flexible production lines," added Torabmostaedi.
— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading