EXTRUSION: Biax Line in Virtual Reality

Parkinson believed to be first supplier to demonstrate its technology at a trade show in VR.

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Parkinson Technologies Inc., Woonsocket, R.I., will use K 2016 to unveil a new virtual reality (VR) system for exhibiting and illustrating its broad base of production and web handling machinery. This system, which utilizes HTC Vive technology, will allow visitors to  Parkinson's exhibit to "transport themselves" into an environment featuring a full-scale biaxial web line and to interact with the line or individual machines—something that is impossible at trade shows due to a number of logistical factors.

Instead of having machinery in bits and pieces—such as a screen changer or slitter—Parkinson will be able to show customers larger equipment such as a casting machine, machine- and transverse-direction orientation systems, along with integrated technologies. “You’ll even be able to see the tenter frame of the TDO as the oven disappears, with just the click of a button,” says Brian Lundgren, Parkinson's marketing manager. “Users (will) feel like they’re standing right in front of the machinery and interacting with it in real time.”

Virtual reality technology has been in development for many years. However, it is the release of hardware such as Oculus and HTC Vive—combined with the appropriate computer horsepower—that makes it possible for companies like Parkinson to deliver a life-like presentation of its machinery. Following the  K Show, the company will establish a virtual reality lounge at its headquarters in Rhode Island, where customers will be able to experience its machinery virtually, in addition to equipping Parkinson sales personnel with mobile versions of the system to allow customers a similar experience via mobile devices.

States Peter Termyn, Parkinson president and CEO: “VR is a game changer for us. To our knowledge Parkinson is one of the first manufacturers doing anything of this kind in the industry and we are extremely excited to leverage this technology to engage with customers. As an engineering-driven manufacturer, we’ve always been about pushing boundaries, and this new VR system underscores our position as an industry innovator.”