Virtual Reality Delivers Savings for Rolls Royce

The nuclear arm of Rolls Royce was the first in the UK to invest in a 4K virtual reality system in 2014 and it has revolutionised the way the Company operates. The systems use of Lean principles has reduced bottlenecks on the factory floor and solved challenges in facility creation and product movement, as well as product realisation.

So far, the team has identified approximately 30 potential issues since 2014, leading to the cost avoidance of almost £2 million. William Lord, MCQI CQP, pre-production delivery manager at Rolls-Royce explained how the software has made a difference: "The technology has made a huge difference to the general flow on the factory floor and how we handle and move from one process to another. It's helped us with tooling, and running the facility, as well as looking at the head count and resource loads so, crucially, we can now easily find out where the biggest constraints are. We can change things in a matter of seconds by just highlighting an area and moving it around. Traditionally you would have to create a multitude of drawings or drafts and then go through the assessments. The great thing is virtual reality allows you to explore these scenarios with multiple members of staff from different departments at the same time."

To make the new technology most effective, it is being built into Rolls-Royce's existing processes. Vince Desmond, Acting Chief Executive at the Chartered Quality Institute commented that it represents a crucial part of innovation: "Technology and the speed of information provides challenges and opportunities in today's competitive business environment. By engaging quality professionals when undergoing innovation, businesses can ensure that technology is seen as an enabler for process improvement that delivers benefit for the customer and efficiency for the organisation."