Digital Doppelgänger: 3D Point Cloud Lets Anyone Run A Factory From Anywhere On The Planet

Rosina Geiger

The air is thick with anticipation. You defy the laws of physics as you free-fall into a remote warehouse. Your heart is pounding. Your pulse races. You take a quick look in every direction to get a feel for your surroundings. Then you leave your position and push forward. Your eyes quickly trace the air conditioning ducts, wiring, and circuit boxes. Then you see it. There, behind the air compressor in a dark corner. You take aim. Click.

Your assembly line – gamified

This isn’t the latest shoot-’em-up, global warfare video game thriller. It’s the future of facilities design and maintenance. Using a high-octane mix of augmented reality and a splash of gamification, high-tech startup Quadrica is unleashing a revolution with its MySurvey solution and 3D point cloud technology.

Architects, engineers, and construction companies have been quick to adopt 3D clouds as a way to visualize what they’re designing and building. Now, global manufacturers are getting into the game, too.

With Quadrica’s 3D point cloud technology and laser scanning, a factory floor can be rendered down to the most minute detail. From current buildings to installations, managers can plan new machine installations or facility redesigns from their desks. They can even simulate a complete automation process.

Dreaming in 3D

Using laser scanning devices, Quadrica builds a database with a three-dimensional coordinate system, or a 3D point cloud. The result is a rich, immersive environment that allows managers to create, navigate, and manipulate a factory location from anywhere in the world. Like a 3D video game, users can freely move throughout a facility without being physically onsite.

By clicking on objects within a space, users can access end-to-end documentation, equipment descriptions, or even technical specifications. Armed with that information, they can then manipulate, measure, and mark objects to brief external maintenance and construction crews.

“Global companies now have the ability to use situational awareness to represent any plant in any location,” says Alain Bloch, director of business development, Quadrica. “It’s a real game changer for digital supply chain management.”

Power to the plant

In a hyper-adaptive, global manufacturing landscape, the Quadrica 3D point cloud is delivering a welcome silver lining. The rise of short innovation cycles, mass customization, and lean manufacturing means managers must constantly fine-tune production facilities – for everything from cars, sporting goods, and footwear to eyewear and clothing.

Now it’s possible to make immediate, informed decisions about repairing, maintaining, and retrofitting factories thousands of miles away without ever leaving the office:

  • Jet engine manufacturers can quickly upgrade their manufacturing lines and work processes to achieve new levels of precision.
  • Carmakers can rapidly retool their assembly lines to make way for new models and custom features.
  • Power and chemical plant operators can perform a complex set of maintenance and inspection requirements simply and intuitively.

A cloud for all

“Quadrica gives the digital supply chain a new level of intelligence, awareness, and context,” says Eva Zauke, VP SAP digital supply chain and head of SAP Startup Accelerator for the Digital Supply Chain. “Users can represent not just an entire plant, but also its equipment and situational awareness.”

Efforts are underway to explore the potential integration of the 3D point cloud with ERP software landscapes. Like Google Maps, the 3D point cloud can be embedded into almost any supply chain solution to offer a richer user experience and enhanced capabilities. 

“Quadrica has the potential to extend the virtual plant to any ERP user with an Internet connection,” says Zauke.

Not surprisingly, the Quadrica solution also gives managers a whole new level of motivation in their everyday work. “Taking an SUV assembly line wall and moving it two meters adds value,” says Bloch. “Moving that same wall inside an immersive visual environment is just pure fun.”

Quadrica is part of the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain.


3D Visualization of Factories with Quadrica

Rosina Geiger

About Rosina Geiger

Rosina Geiger is the Director of Startup Engagement at SAP. She has worked at the Hasso Plattner Institute before joining SAP in 2016 to establish the SAP Startup Accelerator for Digital Supply Chain in Berlin and Palo Alto.