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From computers to ubisociety

CAD and CAM systems

The use of computers to support design started to become commonplace in the 1970s. VTT investigated how computer-aided CAD and CAM systems could be used in production planning. These results were utilised by sawmills, machine shops, foundries, and food and textile plants. VTT participated, for example, in the development of Valmet’s Damatic system, a microprocessor-based production control system. VTT researchers were also involved in the design of the main control system for the Loviisa nuclear power plant. 

 

APROS process simulator

In the 1980s, VTT collaborated with Imatran Voima Oy in the development of the APROS process simulator, which was used, for example, in the simulation of the processes of the Haapavesi peat power plant and the Loviisa nuclear power plant. The APROS software has been constantly developed, and it is still used in the study of the dynamic behaviour of industrial processes under normal operating conditions and during disruptions. Typical applications include electrical, steam and district heating networks, pulp and paper plants, and coal and nuclear power plants. New, topical applications are related to fuel cells, bio fuels, carbon capture and solar power.  

 

Ubitechnology

Today, IT and electronic applications and systems form an essential part of operations in all fields. Information and communication technology has expanded to cover the operations between equipment and systems in addition to information exchange and interaction between people. Ubiquitous information technology, or ubitechnology, operates everywhere around us, unnoticed, enabling new kinds of services and new kinds of business.

Information technology enables, for example, continuous condition monitoring of machines and predictive, early intervening to damages. Energy-self-sufficient measurement electronics combined with IT is well suited to the condition monitoring of rotating, vibrating and moving machines and transportation equipment. They are suited to cranes, work machines, booms, masts, wind power plants, paper machines, ships and airplanes. In cooperation with Moventas, VTT has applied these methods familiar from the industry to the predictive condition monitoring of wind power plant gears and power transmission.

By combining building information systems with other information networks, one can, for example, combine home temperature information with weather forecast information and use the home monitoring system to proactively change the settings of the heating system.  

 

The crane runway measurement method

The crane runway measurement method developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and KoneCranes is a prime example of how combining several technologies and utilising ICT can create new, efficient solutions and services. The crane runway measurement prism is transported by a remote-controlled robot. A measurement trolley, together with a laser measurement device, gathers information about the straightness and condition of runways. Analysis software further refines the gathered information for further use. Instead of days, the measurement at best takes only a few hours. The solution is also much safer.  

 

Renewal of manufacturing industry

VTT has collaborated with companies in fostering the renewal of the manufacturing industry and creating new competitiveness for the industry through methods such as ICT, for example in the Finnish Global Factory projects. The valve manufacturer Flowserve Naval managed to shorten its prior delivery cycle of seven days to under two hours with the help of new solutions and a new production line. In addition to theoretical models, the development work also utilised three-dimensional virtual production line. 

 

Remote operation and virtual modelling of the equipment

VTT’s ROViR projects combine the remote operation and virtual modelling of the equipment. Once both the equipment and its operating environment have been modelled into the virtual model, the operator can control the actual equipment using the virtual model. This allows work in environments inaccessible due to, for example, radiation or high temperature, such as reactors. A simulator based on the virtual model can also be used in training.  

 

IT solutions for ships and vehicles

VTT has not only utilised theoretical and experimental hydrodynamics but also virtual prototyping and simulation when working together with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd cruise vacation company and STX Finland Cruise Oy shipyard to investigate how the new type of structures of the ship can withstand stresses caused by heavy seas, and how vibration, reducing passenger comfort, could be reduced.

IT solutions are also in a key position in a project by VTT, Mercedes-Benz and other major European car manufacturers with the goal of creating the transport system of the future. In it, the vehicles communicate with each other, receive real-time traffic information and send information onwards to both the driver and other systems. This allows, for example, the reduction of accidents.  

 

In cooperation with its customers, VTT has created solutions based on digital map data as early as at the end of the 1980s. The positional data presentation and handling software, developed at VTT, were used in many emergency, transport direction and maritime applications., positioning-based applications created for mobile devices enable the offering of services or, say, guidance information to a mobile user in the right place at the right time. Kvarnsveden paper mill in Sweden has tested a hybrid positioning method, developed with VTT, which makes inspection, maintenance and service operations easier.



Augmented reality

New augmented reality technology enables the seamless combination of the real and virtual worlds. VTT, IBM and Nokia Research Center have jointly developed the ACME system, which allows the inclusion of avatars, or virtual characters, in the actual conference room, viewing and moving objects in the virtual environment in a new way, and mirroring gestures and motions as events in the virtual world.

 

Aller Media and Publishing House Paasilinna have utilised VTT’s augmented reality technology, and brought unique additional content to their readers with it, a webcam and a PC monitor suitable for gaming. The Dibidogs characters in the children’s TV series can be made to come alive in three-dimensional, interactive cartoon characters that react to movement in the webcam by jumping, rolling and growling. By copying and enlarging the symbol printed in the paper, you can play with the Dibidogs in a larger room, somewhat like with a real dog.



Augmented reality technology is also utilised by the interior decoration software published by VTT’s partner, VividWorks, allowing you to test the suitability of furniture in your own home. You can download the software free of charge, for example from Vepsäläinen’s and Masku’s websites.

 

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