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The times when warehouses had to be developed using static CAD models or even one-dimensional drawings are over: The Ehrhardt + Partner Group (EPG) has opened the first virtual reality (VR) CAVE logistics system (HOLODECK) especially for logistics planning and consulting. The heart of the system is an innovative meeting room where projection and modern software technology are used to create a virtual environment. This offers up to twelve people the option of, for example, taking a computer-simulated 360° tour of a virtual warehouse – all without using VR headsets. Logistics processes are perfectly visualized in the HOLODECK and become more accessible. The HOLODECK gives users a high level of planning and investment reliability for warehouse planning. Warehouse infrastructure and processes can be visualized and simulated realistically in the HOLODECK.
“With the HOLODECK, we reach a new development stage in logistics planning and consulting,” said Marco Ehrhardt, Managing Partner of the EPG, at the opening of the HOLODECK at the EPG headquarters in Boppard-Buchholz. “It allows us to provide a realistic visualization of the logistics processes already during the planning phase. Users communicate directly in the virtual reality and different planning scenarios can be experienced live in the HOLODECK.” A visualization software allows logistics planning in real time using a modular system. In practical application, this means: the CAD plan, construction plans or floor plans of a warehouse are projected onto the meeting table in the HOLODECK, while a 3D-modeled warehouse appears on the surrounding walls, element by element. This allows visitors to experience the warehouse in real time and to move inside it virtually. This is made possible by a five-side CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) with active stereo projection which visualizes the content. This creates an immersive, virtual environment in which various scenarios can be shown.
Application options beyond logistics
The possible applications of the HOLODECK are virtually unlimited. Warehouse planning no longer has to be based on statistical models. Instead, users are presented with a dynamic, interactive and immersive VR solution without using a VR headset. The multi-sensory interaction of sound and visual immersion in virtual environments conveys the impression of being at the center of the warehouse action. The three application areas of simulation, emulation and visualization of logistics processes, such as steering the material flow and visualizing automatic storage units, are additional application options of the HOLODECK. As logistics planning can be conducted interactively in the HOLODECK and flexible adaptations are possible, users benefit from a high level of planning and investment reliability. In addition to this, the technology is also ideal for customer presentations. The special visualization in the HOLODECK allows participants to view interactive 360° presentations and videos. The EPG is also planning to hire the HOLODECK to interested parties. “The application options in the area of VR are manifold – not only in logistics. We are pleased with the exchange of experiences with other companies to discuss possible scenarios together,” says Dennis Kunz, Director Marketing of the EPG.