Düsseldorf, Germany — Parkinson Technologies Inc. is inviting visitors to its stand to take a virtual tour of a film extrusion plant.
The use of virtual reality technology allows visitors to get a walk around a 3-D model an order of magnitude larger than the company's K 2016 stand (Hall 3/D24), an experience akin to wandering around the holodeck on the Starship Enterprise, had Captain Picard shown more of an interest in cast film lines.
Brian Lundgren, the company's marketing manager, says that the technology, while costly, will see a return on investment after only a few shows. Ken Forziato, Parkinson's director of business development and product management, points out that a virtual reality model actually has benefits over an actual demonstration machine: Walls can be made transparent to reveal machinery that is never usually visible to the naked eye and proprietary technologies — or designs on which patents are pending — can be hidden from view.
The VR system has been built on the HTC Vive/SteamVR platform, which, along with Facebook's Oculus Rift, is the first commercially available PC-based VR platform. The benefit of Vive over Oculus is the addition of handheld input devices that work as both virtual hands and as mouse-style pointers. This allows visitors to Parkinson's stand to interact with the machinery, pushing buttons on strategically placed podiums to hear information about the machine components or to start and stop the machine's operations.
The virtual line showcases a setup comprising machines from all of Parkinson's brands, including Marshall & Williams Plastics, Dusenbery Converting Systems and Parkinson Winders. Lundgren hopes that, in the future, the VR platform can be developed so that potential customers can be walked through a turnkey setup before manufacturing commences.
Returning from the virtual world to actual physical products, Parkinson Technologies has a new product for K 2016: the Dusenbery 280 Center surface slitter rewinder. The 280 is designed for both high- and low-volume converting operations. The company says it can accurately slit paper, film, nonwovens or foam up to 2185 mm wide with center, center-surface or center winding in minimum gap mode.
The 280 features a new direct-acting winding carriage that provides precise nip control and winding tension.