LEWA: AR app for a diaphragm pump – Achema trade fair 2018

Augmented reality application

Info

Client: LEWA GmbH
Event: Achema 2018
Location: Frankfurt
Period: 2018

Spectrum:
  • Realistic real-time rendering
  • App Development
  • CAD data preparation
  • Augmented Reality
  • Animation
  • on-site testing
  • Workshop
Competence:
  • Augmented Reality

Contact person


Philipp Breilmann


 

The project

LEWA, a manufacturer of membrane pumps and a market leader in dealing with critical fluids, was facing a challenge in the run-up to ACHEMA 2018: the company’s new flagship product, the highly complex LDZ3 membrane pump, was to be presented at the industry’s top trade fair in as much as detail and clarity as possible. The complex construction and the high flow speeds in the pump meant that the “real” product could only be presented within extensive limitations and at great expense. Together with mld digits, an augmented reality application was developed that made it possible to look “into” the pump, portraying all functions and technical processes within the pump at various levels.

The challenge

The LDZ3 pump was developed for dosing all possible liquids, even corrosive and toxic fluids. This is thanks to its highly modular construction: depending on the industry and application case, additional materials, fans, heating or cooling systems, pump heads and other (special) constructions can be configured individually so that the end product meets the customer’s needs precisely.

When it comes to displaying the sheer versatility of this product, “classic” presentation formats quickly come up against their limits, as it would take much too long to physically configure the pump for each use case. The machine also works at incredibly high speeds that cannot be easily perceived by the human eye.

For mld digits, the main task was to develop an AR solution to portray the product’s complexity and versatile usability in a clear and intuitive way.

The solution

After a framework was defined in an initial workshop, including which of the pump’s features and functions should be shown in the AR app, things quickly moved onto specific implementation. LEWA just had to provide existing CAD data for the pump. Based on this information, the developers at mld digits created a 3D real-time model. The greatest challenge in doing so was portraying the complex technical processes as precisely and clearly as possible. In the case of the LDZ3 pump, the task was to replicate the pump’s complex technical configuration and portray the realistic-looking process as well as liquid moving in real time. As with all mld digits projects, the developers worked closely with the client through rounds of online approval so that client feedback and change requests could be efficiently and quickly integrated. All movements and animations within the application were shown, discussed and constantly developed in ongoing operation.

Time-consuming processes such as rendering phases, long feedback loops and approval processes were therefore reduced to a minimum.

At the end of the project, the result was an intuitive app that does justice to the pump’s versatility: once the application is started on the iPad and pointed at the prototype, it automatically recognizes all complex parts and begins the animation. This means it’s possible to look at the real pump’s inner workings and portray various mechanisms within the pump in real time. What’s more, a slow motion function was built in as many processes are too fast for the human eye and slow motion made for a clearer explanation.

Beispiele für solche Wirkmechanismen sind etwa:

  • How does a “remote head” work with oscillating liquid and heat exchange?
  • What happens if the suction and pressure line is blocked?
  • What if a foreign body destroys the membrane?

The LDZ3 pump was the main attraction at the LEWA stand thanks to the AR app. LEWA sales reps were run off their feet showing the pump to interested visitors on the iPad. Even passers-by were attracted by the showcase, so the stand was frequented by many more guests than average.

What’s so special about it?

  • Very high-quality visuals
  • Innovative augmented reality product marketing
  • Precise and complex animations with fluids and particle effects
  • Designed to be expanded with additional pumps
  • Intuitive operation
  • Optimized for iPad Pro
  • Very good customer satisfactionFurther used internally, motivating the whole LEWA team across all departments
  • Will soon be available as a public app in the Apple AppStore

Outlook

After the trade fair and positive reception, LEWA ordered further updates and adjustments. As the real pump was dismantled after the show, the app was developed to simply work on a clear floor space and no longer has to interact with the real pump. Using “ground plane detection” technology, the virtual pump can be placed on almost any surface.

So now sales reps always have the pump with them. It can be placed on any surface during any meeting (e.g. with a potential customer) so all of its functions can be explained in detail. The virtual model can be scaled in terms of size and can be moved or turned in any way – from a miniature model on a desk to a life-size 1:1 version in a warehouse.

By combining personal interaction at the stand with the limitless freedom of visual presentation and exciting interaction, LEWA and mld digits successfully demonstrated at ACHEMA 2018 what the product marketing of the future can look like today.

Zitat Stefan Glasmeyer, CSO, LEWA GmbH:
“It takes our pump, the LDZ, to a completely different level. It’s a static exhibit […] and I think it’s the opener for our customers, to really bring them to the stand. So […] I can only say the feedback [is] really great! Really very impressive.”

See our case study with insight into the development process and an interview with Stefan Glasmeyer.

[UPDATE 08.30.2019]

The app is now globally available in the AppStore, suitable for all iPads.