Unitechnik plans workstations by means of Virtual Reality (VR). Already used in several reference projects, the technology is now a standard component in the planning of logistics projects. The aim is to optimize the interface between man and technology already in the planning process. The design of picking and packing stations via VR makes planning much more vivid and increases the acceptance by employees.
After the planning of conveyor technology, storage systems and the order picking system, the design of the workstations is the next step. Especially with regard to the ergonomic needs of the future user, early planning of the processes at the picking and packing stations brings a high added value. If source and target containers are unfavourably arranged, this places a strain on the operator every day. The consequences are loss of productivity, dissatisfaction and inefficient processes. Detailed planning of the workstations is therefore an important aspect of the planning phase.
Workstations in the VR model
The basis for the later model of a virtual workstation is the 3D CAD drawing of the logistics centre. This contains, among other things, the exact dimensions of the building, warehouse, materials handling system and the other works. This static 3D file is then post-processed in an animation program and then transferred to a game engine. This is software that makes it possible to program movements and interactions. As known from modern computer games, the user controls the action with the controllers he holds in his hands. By means of VR glasses, the later workplace users experience their work very realistically. Articles can be taken out of a bin, for example, and placed in an order container. Once the order has been fully picked, it is pushed onto the conveyor system. The picker takes a new empty container and processes the next order. Via VR, the users get a feeling for movement sequences and gripping heights. Change requests of the employees can be implemented and tried out directly in the VR model. Even changes to the conveyor system layout can be quickly implemented in virtual space. In the ideal case, this procedure increases the ergonomics of the workstations and the motivation of the employees.
Planning with the promise of implementation
Recently, the general contractor Unitechnik Systems GmbH has also taken over complete planning projects. Michael Huhn, sales manager and member of the board, makes clear which advantages result from this: "The greatest added value for customers is the elimination of the interface between planning and realization. We take full responsibility - from the planning of the concept to the implementation and programming of the software systems and the commissioning of the plant. Throughout the entire process, the customer has a dedicated responsible contact person who knows exactly what is required and keeps track of the progress of the project".
This is what the trade press says: