Hyberbat unveils world first 5G virtual 3D engineering model

Imagine simultaneously working on the same complex product with colleagues in multiple distant locations while everyone sees the result of the work right before their eyes.

Hyperbat, one of the UK’s largest independent vehicle battery manufacturers based in Coventry, is using the latest 5G enabled technology to significantly speed up the manufacturing process for hybrid and electric vehicle production in the UK.

Partnering with BT, Ericsson and NVIDIA, Hyperbat is set to benefit from a world first 5G Virtual Reality (VR) ‘digital twin’ solution which allows remote teams in different parts of the country to connect, collaborate and interact using a virtual 3D engineering model. By enabling dispersed teams across design, engineering and manufacturing to collaborate more efficiently, the technology is set to accelerate the pace of innovation within the UK manufacturing sector.

Hyperbat alongside its partners – BT, Ericsson, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Masters of Pie and The Grid Factory – unveiled details of the solution at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC) demonstrating how it will reduce product cycle time between design, engineering and manufacturing teams based in Coventry and Oxfordshire.

The solution offers a world first untethered 5G native experience that will allow design and engineering teams to walk around and interact with a 3D lifesize model in real time through a single self-contained device, and without the constraints of a physical connection.

Hyperbat colleagues in different locations will be able to work with a 1:1 product scale hologram of the design in-situ on the factory floor, review designs in real time, and manage workflows much more effectively.

Hosein Torabmostaedi, Digital and Innovation Manager said:

‘‘Hyperbat is honoured to be working with such an incredible consortium of partners to pioneer a solution that lays the foundations for smart factory architecture and efficient, flexible and collaborative manufacturing.

The solution 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. Hyperbat also to extend the solution to the use of 5G connectivity for machines to enable configurable and flexible production lines.

The solutions will be demonstrated and trialled at Hyperbat’s facility in Coventry, United Kingdom.”

The solution comprising high bandwidth and low latency 5G connectivity, integrated by Ericsson’s D-15 Lab in Santa Clara, California, will enable Hyperbat to deliver engineering projects at scale. This will empower teams to improve build efficiency within its manufacturing processes, whilst removing current complexities between product management systems, supply chain and factory operations.

The 5G VR digital twin solution will be deployed by BT and Ericsson on a 5G mobile private network, using the world’s first 5G-enabled VR headset powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform. The VR headset will run on the Masters of Pie Radical platform, enabling Hyperbat to use cloud-based virtual reality within computer-aided design (CAD) software.

A digital twin is a digital representation of a physical object – in intricate and specific detail – viewed through a digital interface, such as virtual reality glasses. In the case of Hyperbat, the technology will allow design, engineering and manufacturing experts to cooperate on a 3D engineering blueprint from various locations to impact physical products at the company’s Coventry production complex.

Jeremy Spencer, 5G Innovation Senior Manager, BT’s Enterprise unit said: 

“This world-first 5G digital twin solution is a powerful reminder that 5G connectivity and Edge Compute is very much here now, delivering real business benefits for our customers. 5G connectivity, when combined with the latest emerging tech can produce incredible efficiency gains which will be so important in boosting the UK manufacturing sector as it recovers from COVID.

It will also bring a welcome boost to many other industries where collaboration is required. We’re thrilled to be working with Hyperbat and such a strong network of partners to bring this innovation to life, made possible by combining our collective strengths across a range of technologies.”

Using high performance edge compute, the solution also includes cutting-edge hardware and software from NVIDIA to seamlessly integrate into existing factory floor operations. Qualcomm’s VR headset incorporates split rendering where all the perception-based data is held locally on the device, but the computing is handled in the cloud and streamed by the NVIDIA CloudXR and solutions. This helps to achieve a seamless, high fidelity VR experience that produces a real-life experience for the manufacturing teams.

Hyperbat design and engineering teams will be able to virtually walk around and interact with 3D life-size objects in real time through a single self-contained device. Employees in different locations will be able to build a 1:1 scale physical product on the factory floor, review designs in real time, explore form factors such as maintenance and crash detection of an electric vehicle and retro fit high-performance batteries into specific dimensions.

The key enabler is the high speed, low latency and large data handling capabilities of an Ericsson 5G mobile private network deployed by BT and integrated by Ericsson’s D-15 Labs in Santa Clara, California.

The technology has the potential to transform the traditional manufacturing process through efficiency gains in product management systems, supply chain and factory operations.

Björn Odenhammar, CTO, Networks and Managed Services, Ericsson UK and Ireland, says:

“5G will have a transformative impact in the industries and technologies of the future. This collaboration with BT, Hyperbat and other eco-system partners is another demonstration of how low latency, edge compute and wireless networking will be critical to digitalisation within the enterprise sector.

By delivering operational efficiencies through 5G technology, we are laying a foundation that can help to drive innovation in manufacturing, boost the economy and position the UK as a leading 5G nation.”

The BT and Ericsson 5G VR digital twin solution will be deployed on a 5G mobile private network, with Qualcomm’s 5G native VR headset and Masters of Pie platform. This will enable Hyperbat to use cloud-based mixed reality within computer-aided design (CAD) software.

The solution will be run over Dell’s high-performance edge compute platform and includes cutting-edge hardware from NVIDIA to seamlessly integrate into existing factory floor operations.

“Bringing remote teams together in VR to collaborate and refine manufacturing processes will produce great efficiencies and innovations,” said David Weinstein, director of virtual reality and augmented reality at NVIDIA. 

“This 5G VR digital-twin solution — powered with NVIDIA RTX technology, CloudXR, and NVIDIA RTX Virtual Workstation software — will enable real-time immersion for teams both on the factory floor and remotely.”

The Hyperbat solution is near completion with results of the collaboration expected in early summer.