How BASF Merges the Digital and Real World with its AR Factory Planning Software

For over 30 years now, 3D renderings of CAD models are used by engineers to prove manufacturability. AR further develops the way of working with CAD. And according to a recent study of Bitkom already 34% of mechanical and plant engineers use AR or VR. One of them is BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, who uses a factory planning software based on Augmented Reality. 

Efficiency and sustainability are core values for the global player BASF. By using cutting-edge technology, they managed to significantly reduce time and material cost in their planning processes. In the intermediate product plant, engineering teams implemented a future technology in their daily working practice: The software suite ARES in combination with Microsoft´s HoloLens, enables the engineers to plan directly at the plant. 

From 2D Screen Directly into the Production Hall  

By means of the AR factory planning software, the projected pipework and assemblies can be visualized and manipulated directly at their envisaged destination. Going out into the field, viewing the assembly on-site, even though it doesn’t exist yet, makes the planning considerably easier. This allows to determine whether everything is in order on the spot or whether modifications on a specific stage in the project are needed. Furthermore, “what if” testing scenarios expand the digital toolbox of the engineer and give him a better understanding of his projected asset.  

“It’s not as if you are placed in a virtual environment, I can see quite normally like looking through sunglasses. It’s just that the parts, which I also want to see those I have transferred to the HoloLens are visible at the same time.”  

A technical engineer at BASF describes his AR experience

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AR Twin against Hidden Construction Errors  

The planning of complex assemblies on 2D screens can be tricky: The digital plan and reality diverge oftentimes. Almost invisible construction errors complicate the planning process. Thanks to the digital twin these errors can be easily avoided.  

Cutting-Edge Technology Arrived in Daily Working Practice 

The software suite ARES in combination with HoloLens makes planning more efficient and reduces construction errors at BASF. Intuitive handling makes visualization, manipulation and sharing super easy. Furthermore, BASF benefits from the digital replication to make more educated decisions in the planning process.  

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