igus meets the metaverse: Plastics specialist brings engineering and sales into virtual reality

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Salespeople, engineers, and customers will work together in the
future in the “iguverse” metaverse

Closely inspect products from all
sides wearing virtual reality (VR) glasses. Plan machines, systems and vehicle
assemblies together with engineers and material experts in VR, quickly and
independently of your location. igus has created a digital parallel universe
that prepares sales and engineering professionals for the metaverse – the new

The online game Fortnite shows
how powerful a digital parallel universe can become – a computer game that
allows people to participate in social events in a 3D simulation. 12.3 million
players gathered in virtual space in April 2020 when rapper Travis Scott gave a
digital concert with an avatar. A digital parallel universe could become
similarly important for industry and business. “We are pursuing the vision of
“iguverse”, a virtual space in which all our products can be experienced as
digital twins,” says igus UK managing director Matthew Aldridge. “In the
future, customers from all over the world will have the opportunity in iguverse
to develop machines, systems and machines together with igus, partner engineers
and project managers and to immerse themselves in the projects and applications
– saving time and money.”

Customers are up to nine
times more likely to remember what they experience in “reality”

Visitors to the IAA
Transportation 2022 trade show in Hanover were given a taste of this future
vision. At the igus stand, visitors were able to put on VR glasses and,
together with employees, take a first look at the beginnings of the igus
metaverse. In the future, they will be able to see 3D models of products such
as energy chains in a 360-degree panoramic view from all sides. People will
experience the infrastructure of igus, like the 3,800m2 test
laboratory in Cologne or immerse themselves in multiple applications where igus
components are used. These range from a plastic bicycle to a futuristic
mini-van with iglidur plain bearings, drylin linear guides and e-chains for an
oil platform, where the modular energy chain system e-loop is used. These give impressions
that cannot be conveyed so impressively, nor with such lifelike realism using
classic media such as catalogues, brochures and multimedia presentations, or
even videos or 3D renderings.

“With iguverse, we are embarking
on a new path of presentation, selling and engineering,” emphasizes
Aldridge. For many, the metaverse is new territory. igus also wants to learn
something new and to explore this path with our customers, a path with a lot of
potential for business development. For example, sales representatives and
customers could put VR glasses on during customer visits and immerse themselves
in the iguverse. “Studies show that customers are up to nine times more likely
to remember experiences they receive in daily reality and therefore understand them
more quickly,” says Aldridge.

Time-saving and low-friction engineering in virtual reality

Digital twins of products and igus’s facilities are only one expansion stage of iguverse. In the future, customers, engineers, and material experts will come together as avatars in a digital space and carry out entire engineering projects, faster and with less friction than is possible in the physical world.

In a further stage, igus is also considering expanding the iguverse with a B2B platform for other manufacturers. The companies can then present machines and systems in this virtual space, using igus components. According to US market research company Gartner, by 2025, digital channels will account for 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers. To support this, igus will create a growing reference database for all motion plastics with its own B2B platform, which will be accessed virtually.

Sell digitally with augmented reality

In a further development, igus will rely more on a new form of digital selling and presentation using augmented reality (AR).

An example of this is the energy chain of the triflex TRX series. In the past, sales personnel and customers hardly had a chance to look at the detail inside a closed chain. Some mechanical principles, which are particularly relevant in the triflex TRX, were left to the imagination. Here, an AR application assists buyers and engineers. When the employee activates the software on their smartphone via a QR code on the e-chain, the application overlays the product on a screen with an animated virtual twin. This allows a kind of X-ray view of the mechanics inside of the chain. This immediately brings the product to life and helps the design selection process.