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How Virtual Car became Virtual Anything

Bearing and seals are key components in making a car roll, a wind turbine spin or a crane, truck or gearbox function properly. But how does one of the worlds leading manufacturers show and explain exactly how they work and how important they are, for people who are not trained engineers? The Virtual Car concept makes it possible.

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Brief

Bearings are found in everyday objects like your electric mixer or the airplane that takes you on vacation. They are also found in cars, wind turbines, gearboxes, trucks and cranes. But since the bearings and seals are so well hidden they are easily forgotten when speaking of product performance. The market communications department at SKF, a world leading company in the field of designing and manufacturing bearings and seals, identified both technical and communications-related challenges. The challenge from a technical perspective was to find solutions that would work for a wide range of makes and models. From a communication perspective, the challenge was to make the benefits of quality components clear to people beyond engineers working for vehicle manufacturers. Financial staff, decision makers, and those less familiar with the subject also had to understand how they work.

Solution

Back in 2012 Animech was given the task of developing a solution focusing on the car industry, resulting in the app Virtual Car. Achieving the highest possible level of visual quality required the use of the very latest visualization technologies; with the platform Aniconfigurator, Animech were able to explain and show all the different products that SKF produce down to the smallest component. SKF’s Sofia Noord, who commissioned the work, says Animechs technical expertise greatly simplified the production process. The company’s combination of technical skills and experience in creating world-class 3D graphics is unique. The market communications department was able to confidently allow Animech to have a direct dialogue with the relevant engineers at SKF.

Result

The first version of Virtual Car was launched at a Capital Markets Day in London in 2012, and it has since been used at numerous trade fairs. The app can be downloaded via App Store and is now used by salespeople on a daily basis. The success lead to the development of Virtual Wind Turbine, Virtual Gearbox, Virtual Truck and Virtual Crane. Today, salespeople and customers stand alongside the interactive screen and talk about bearings and seals in a completely different way. SKF’s salespeople say that the applications make all the difference. They previously discussed one component at a time with customers, but with these applications it has become easier to talk about the bigger picture. Put simply, salespeople can spend less time explaining the role of various components, and instead take the next step towards securing the business.

3D visualization tool

Shows the big picture, as well as its individual components

"We're able to visually represent the bigger picture – not just individual components."

Sofia Noord, Segment Market Communications Team Manager,
SKF

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