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From CAD User Mechanical Magazine Vol 16 No 04 - MAY 2003
A leading packaging company uses virtual photography tools to assist it in new product development
Go and have a look in the cupboard where you keep your domestic cleaning products – you Cif’s (not Jifs), your Domestos or your Lemon Squeezy – and marvel at the different shapes that they come in. Pretty commonplace stuff – rather boring things – aren’t they? Yet the competition that goes into producing plastic packaging for household products is every bit as fierce and demanding as it is for the latest hi-tech gizmos.
Cost, shape, appeal – all of these factors come into play, and, consequently, the latest design tools have to be employed to keep ahead of the competition.
ART VPS Ltd has featured in the pages of CAD user before, but principally in the AEC version of the magazine, where its advanced rendering tools have been demonstrated producing photo-realistic simulations of buildings. The company is now helping a pioneering UK packaging solutions company to reduce the time and costs associated with delivering new product designs.
Within one of the most comprehensive independent plastic conversion facilities in Europe, Audus Noble has been solving packaging problems since 1964. From being the first UK company to mould a plastic sweet jar, Audus Noble Ltd now produces a wide range of PVC, Poly Ethylene Terephtalate (PET), and Injection Moulded containers to companies such as Nestle and Jeyes.
Audus Noble has recently adopted the PURE virtual photography CAD visualization solution from ART VPS, and is using this within its design and development department with the aim of reducing the number of physical prototypes that have to be built throughout the product development process.
ART VPS Ltd. develops leading edge Virtual Photography solutions that allow computers to create images with incredible reality from digital data for visualising new products, architectural designs and entertainment projects. The company developed the world's first dedicated ray tracing graphics processors - the only 3D graphics chips that can create images of true realism. RenderDrive, ART VPS's 3D rendering appliance, and PURE, ART's 3D rendering workstation add-in board, are application independent and can be used with many 3D applications including 3ds max, 3D Studio VIZ, Maya, and any RenderMan-compatible application.
By using PURE's unique photographic-quality 3D visualization technology, Audus Noble are able to visualize proposed product designs more quickly and explore designs more effectively than with other CAD software tools. This means that designs can be evaluated and modified before a physical prototype is built. Reducing the number of physical prototypes in this way can have a major impact on the time required and the costs associated with getting a new product design into production. The speed of rendering that PURE is capable of means that many designs can be rendered far more rapidly than using standard rendering tools – and not as expensive or time-consuming as sending the work out to ‘render farms’. In the words of Craig Wareham or ART VPS, “It’s a ‘pure’ Double Whammy of photo-image quality and short rendering times – and can be use don every job!”
"The quality of the images we obtain with PURE is simply stunning," commented Ian Tennick, designer at Audus Noble. "This level of quality means that a new design can be fully explored before committing to the expense of a physical prototype. We can be more innovative in trying new ideas, yet reduce the product design costs as we can focus our resources on those designs that we know meet the customers criteria. PURE really helps in improving and streamlining our development process."
The design department at Audus Noble employ Pro/Engineer, SolidWorks and Alias|Wavefront software to design and model new product designs. Detailed models are created of the design and then these designs are visualized using ART VPS's PURE visualization card.
As well as its use in design evaluation and prototyping, Audus Noble are using the virtual photographs created with PURE to help in market research and market promotion for new product designs. The images are so lifelike that they appear as photographs to the viewer - enabling accurate feedback to be collected, and product catalogues to be created in parallel with the production phase.
The containers that Audus Noble produces are used in a wide variety of industries including confectionary, food, beauty products, healthcare, cosmetics, novelty and seasonal goods.
Whilst virtual photography has become established within the architectural market and is gaining significant adoption within the aerospace and electronics product manufacturing market, Audus Noble are one of the first to capitalize on this technology for the containers and packaging industry.
ART VPS Ltd are also heavily involved in the automotive market, recently supplying another three 3D RenderDrives to Burrows, a leading creative communications company and part of the WPP Group, who use them to create stunning ‘virtual photgraphs’ for their clients in the Ford Group, and which have recently been used (and you may have seen their stills in advertising) for the Jaguar X-Type, Ford Thunderbird, Ford Fiesta and Ford TransitConnect. Vehicles are sometimes not available for photographic shoots at the start of projects, and Burrows skilled designers use RenderDrive to provide images without costly prototypes having to be built – which can be set against any background for publicity or technical purposes – so that designs can be experienced without reference to physical vehicles. CUwww.artvps.com
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