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    Virtual Reality in Engineering – Pros, Cons, and Use Cases

    Virtual Reality in Engineering – Pros, Cons, and Use Cases

    Tracy Watson

    10/12/2020

    7 min read

    virtual reality engineering

    Engineers spend countless hours creating CAD models of virtual objects without having a solid understanding of how it will be installed. This created a lot of problems with the fit and form of the object since changes and updates are constantly made to the house or building that is under construction. This is just one of the problems engineers had to deal with when relying solely on CAD models. Thanks to virtual reality, all of this is changing, and engineers can literally walk in the environment they are designing. Let’s take a look at VR engineering to identify the pros and cons and take a look at some use cases as well. 

    Visualization for Greater Understanding 

    Engineers use products like Autodesk to create industrial designs, but there is really no substitute for actually walking inside the building that you would like to create. Today, stakeholders and construction managers can put on a headset and inspect all of the floor plans, elevation, and many other design aspects. To create the object in VR, a virtual reality engineer takes the Building Information Modeling (BIM) files and brings them to life using engines like Unity Reflect. There are many applications of such technology. First of all, it can help you win more projects since you will be able to immerse the stakeholders in the design. Also, if you would like to make any changes, you could do so right away in real-time, instead of spending time remaking parts of the design. 

    Identifying Issues Before they Appear 

    When you create a design for a building, there are so many details that need to be accounted for that it can be easy to overlook something. For example, let’s take a look at something like electricity and HVAC installation. If you started actualizing the project prior to creating a VR representation, you could encounter certain obstacles for installing air conditioning in a certain part of the building, or there may be challenges to the electrical configuration. These issues may cause significant delays to fix and could even require some parts of the structure to be completely redone. 

    Virtual reality in engineering can help you avoid such problems since you will see a life-like representation of the design. When you are walking around in the model, you will be able to identify potential issues before they snowball into big problems, saving you a lot of headache, time, and resources. Keep in mind, VR solutions will also help you better communicate all of the issues and fixes that need to be made. This will provide you with greater feedback, thus leading to overall higher quality of the design and, ultimately, the entire project as well. 

    virtual reality in engineering

    The Pros and Cons of Virtual Reality Engineering

    While we mentioned a lot of benefits of using VR in engineering, such as: 

    • Immersion in the project leading to a better design;
    • Better coordination between engineering, design, and construction teams;
    • The visualization will enhance stakeholder buy-in;
    • VR, together with tools like Unity Reflect and Revit, allows for real-time adjustments in the design.

    Even though VR offers a lot of powerful capabilities, there are also some drawbacks such as: 

    • The high cost of development; 
    • There is a learning curve that needs to be overcome when first starting to use this technology;
    • Privacy concerns of intellectual property such as development plans. 

    Additional Benefits of VR 

    However, even though there may be some adoption issues and high development costs, the potential for VR in engineering is huge. In addition to helping engineers design a building, it can also be used for training purposes to improve performance, cultivate safety, and close the experience gap. VR can empower employees to identify unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous hazards and who can take the proper corrective actions to fix them. This would not be easy to teach through print materials of classroom instruction and could only be grasped through real-world experience. Thanks to VR simulators and serious games, even those who are starting out will be ahead of the curve in terms of the amount of knowledge they have. 

    vr engineering and industrial design

    Skywell Software Allows You to Realize the Benefits of VR

    We mentioned all of the benefits VR offers in engineering and construction, but you will need an experienced virtual reality development company to help you realize all of these benefits. Skywell Software has a long track record of successfully actualizing VR projects for various industries. All of these experiences allowed us to accumulate insider know-how in terms of the best practices to use when creating VR environments. This is one of the main reasons why some of the world’s biggest companies trust Skywell Software to actualize their projects. 

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