Digitalization and Industry 4.0

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D printing used across several industries

Tuesday, 11/07/2017
Automotive/Aerospace & Defense/Shipbuilding

Virtual engineering demo day at PITERION headquarters in Böblingen

Today, no company can succeed without digitalization and Industry 4.0. Likewise, recording and managing product-lifecycle data as seamlessly as possible – from ideas generation through to production, sales, and after-sales – is absolutely essential. A modern tool in this area is virtual engineering, which is increasingly making use of virtual-reality, augmented-reality, and 3D-printing technologies. This is the case across a number of industries, which – especially during the initial stages of this development – gives companies the opportunity to benefit from the experiences of others. 

To talk about these experiences and, of course, to learn more about the latest virtual engineering trends in PLM, PITERION held a demo day in July 2017 at its headquarters in Böblingen. Originally planned as an event for a PITERION customer from the aeronautics industry, in the end participants – the speakers as well as the guests – were invited from sectors as varied as automotive and naval systems, aerospace, civil engineering, energy technology, the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, and agricultural technology. This was on the one hand due to the wide-ranging industry know-how that they would bring to the event, and on the other, because everyone was simply curious if and how other companies and industries were using modern tools to master certain challenges.


Lively presentations on various applications with group discussion

“The demo day began with six presentations, each highlighting a very different application in the field of virtual engineering. The afternoon saw three groups discuss their experiences with various technologies as well as their views on how best to manage the future of Industry 4.0 with the help of virtual realities and the consistent depiction of data in the PLM. When allocating members to each group, we found it particularly important to bring people from different sectors together at one table,” explains PITERION.


  • Seamless collection and management of product-lifecycle data – from ideas generation through to production, sales, and after-sales
  • Transforming a virtual assembly into reality

Web and VR-based training sessions

In this way, participants learned that apprentices at the Chinese branch of an automobile company use hybrid web clients such as smartphones or tablets to receive the same assembly training as their German colleagues.


Virtual assembly becomes a reality

The technicians enter a virtual space using HoloLens® glasses and can see in detail how to fit and remove parts in order to repair a vehicle model, for example after an accident. Since everything is recorded in the PLM, everyone involved – from order acceptance and the workshop through to invoicing – has immediate access to all data. This is especially interesting for the area of predictive maintenance and helpful for customers: since a vehicle’s entire lifecycle can be reproduced from start to finish, the company can more accurately predict damage caused by wear and tear and inform customers before it affects the car.

In aircraft construction, 3D projectors are used on unfinished components. Here, the exact boreholes and cutting edges from the actual finished part are projected onto the unfinished one so that technicians see exactly where they have to drill.

In one particularly impressive presentation, participants could step onto a virtual, 130-meter-high oil drilling platform, see all the parts, and even look right down into the well.


3D printing brings virtually constructed products to life

And finally something to touch in real life: a PITERION partner company presented a motorbike frame that had been constructed virtually, and then created it from metal powder using a 3D printer.


  • Real products could be built from virtual constructions using a 3D printer
  • Acceleration in the time to market
  • Better quality and lower costs in production
  • Consistency of all data across all processes, leading to improved efficiency in the company across all sites

What does the market need?

From obtaining data about market demands through to production, sales, service, and recycling: today’s possibilities in virtual design, combined with consistent Product Lifecycle Management, open up a whole new world of opportunities that were previously unthinkable for companies across all sectors. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular are often the technology drivers for providing intelligent solutions.

“Here, PITERION sees itself as a technology scout and integrator that advises companies on how best to use available technologies and standards in order to accelerate the time to market while at the same time producing products in a better, more cost-effective way. The one thing that everyone learned from the demo day is this: first and foremost, it is the consistency of all data throughout all processes in an organization that, in the end, leads to more efficiency across a company’s sites,” said PITERION, summing up the event.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D printing used across several industries
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PITERION is an international PLM service provider headquartered in Germany with branches in the USA, India, Tunisia, Sweden, Switzerland and Poland. Our highly qualified staff offers solutions and services independent of system manufacturers. We always follow the provisions of the EN 9100 (aerospace), ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and ISO 14001 quality management standards. We have set up internal standards and processes that enable us to maintain a consistently high quality of service across our sites throughout the world.

We constitute a competent and independent partner of our customers providing tailor-made solutions and services. Jointly with our technology providers we may therefore support the PLM strategy of our customers in the best way possible.