SIMPAC, Elm Park Labs aim to disrupt the industry with a new XR tool
May 4, 2021
TROY, Mich.—A press manufacturer and a computer software company are partnering to create an exclusive extended reality (XR) tool that could enable better business practices and operations within the metal forming industry.
The collaboration between SIMPAC America, the North American subsidiary of South Korea-based press manufacturer SIMPAC Inc., and Elm Park Labs, a Michigan-based, women-owned computer software company, will involve three project phases: sales and marketing, buy-offs and installations, and service and operational support, the companies said in a release.
The first project will be an augmented reality (AR) sales and marketing software tool that will highlight SIMPAC’s CX-200 press, a press from the manufacturer’s new CX Series. The CX Series and its IIOT (industrial internet of things) technology were designed specifically to accelerate small part production of stamped parts for the appliance, automotive, and other general industries, according to SIMPAC America and Elm Park Labs.
“We are very proud to have made such a strategic partnership with Elm Park Labs,” said Y.H. Kim, president of North American Operations at SIMPAC America, in the release. “Together, we are expanding upon SIMPAC’s IIOT portfolio while supporting our customers as they dive deeper into Industry and Digitalization 4.0.”
Elm Park Labs (www.elmparklabs.com) will handle the design, development, testing, and deployment of the AR application, which will allow SIMPAC to promote the new press series in a highly innovative way, according to the release. The application will also enable the press manufacturer to highlight key components of the press, its functionality, and its specific parts and capabilities.
Clients can use the technology remotely and walk around with the tool while using it. The technology will provide a three-dimensional view, making it possible to view the internal components of the press and check or adjust the sizing of the press. This feature enables customers to verify floorspace requirements, according to Elm Park Labs.
“The XR ecosystem we are creating for SIMPAC is paramount to bringing a simulated and enhanced environment to the metal forming industry,” said Kimberley Hanke, founder and CEO of Elm Park Labs, in the release. “The robust augmented reality solution for the CX-200 press is only the beginning for this long-term partnership. The goal is to apply all sectors of extended reality in order to tackle key industry problems that will, in turn, [decrease] turnaround times, [increase] knowledge transfer, and ultimately save costs while creating an immersive experience.”
The second and third project phases are intended to enable a completely remote buy-off process, ensuring safety throughout the pandemic, efficiency, and cost savings for SIMPAC customers. Remote technician, maintenance, technical service, and operator instructions for international communications will be made possible, enabling technicians to easily access extensive three-dimensional instructions and support. This will provide “a seamless solution for part orders, part identification, and tool identification that is specific to maintenance activity or part replacement,” according to the release.
“SIMPAC is going through a lot of exciting changes as we continue to dissect emerging industry-wide trends and areas of improvement for our customers, and also manufacturers, on a global scale,” said Stephan Robertson, general manager/vice president of sales and operations at SIMPAC America (www.simpac-america.com), in the release. “This collaboration is just the tip of the iceberg, as the UI/UX systems and software IP that Elm Park Labs is configuring for our press systems will set a benchmark for how press manufacturers provide immediate accessibility of critical spare parts and support.” Robertson called this “a key area” that SIMPAC America has addressed through a previously announced million-dollar acquisition strategy to “expand its North American Service Division over the next few years.”
The first phase of SIMPAC and Elm Park Lab’s XR tool is scheduled to be unveiled through multiple events and conferences, as part of a thought leadership case study for the metal forming industry to use for its own benefit. A recent webinar provided an in-depth analysis of the tool, showing how the low latency experience works, why the tool was created, and what impact it will have for press manufacturers, capital equipment suppliers, plant managers, and other key players within the manufacturing industry, according to the release.