German Hologram Headset Improves Factory Design

January 2023

So-called mixed reality is about combining the strengths of humans and machination, and researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA have come up with an application that helps businesses use the technology to plan space more efficiently.

The key is a system called HoloLayouts. It features headsets that allow one of more users to virtual configure and experiment with production spaces. That makes factory layout processes more efficient and cost-effective.

“Users can then pick up, move, slide, scale and position individual objects such as machines or workpieces, and a catalog is available for adding new objects,” the institute wrote on its website. “It is also possible to adjust distances between objects and aisle widths.”

The project received funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of an initiative to achieve full digital transformation in battery-cell production. And battery maker VARTA was involved in testing initial applications.

“The spaces used for battery production cost a lot to run due to the specific requirements that the processes involve, such as clean rooms and dry rooms,” says Fraunhofer IPA researcher Christian Kaucher. “Production innovations require versatile flexible design options in the future…With HoloLayouts, we’re responding to this need and making a space-efficient, flexible planning possible that allow layouts to adapt quickly to new product and production technologies.”

© Fraunhofer IPA/Rainer Bez