The history of tractor construction is synonymous with the history of the Fendt company from Marktoberdorf in the Eastern Allgäu. It was here in 1930 that Johann Georg Fendt and his son Hermann built the first small diesel tractor in Europe in the shape of the "Fendt Dieselross” which saw the start of the company’s growth. By 1935, the 100th tractor had already left the factory,dollowed by the 1,000th tractor in 1938 and the 100,000th in 1961 as this success story ran its course.
Today, the Fendt brand is owned by the AGCO Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers of agricultural machinery in the world with a network of over 3,000 dealers in more than 140 countries. Marktoberdorf still ranks among the most important production locations and it is there that tractors are built, technical improvements drafted and agricultural machinery developed for the future.
The development process is supported by the most modern technology, which is reflected in the company’s internal virtual reality centre. On a 5m x 2.6m large passive stereo powerwall, CAD models of various agricultural machines are visualised,while the objective of the new VR system is both the improvement of product quality as well as cost optimisation. Hermann Fendt, Series Product Area Manager at AGCO GmbH, explains: “Our new VR system is there to support communication between individual departments and divisions by means of visual presentation. In this way, we can prevent technical loops or possible faults at an early stage in the development process.”
Norbert Einsle, responsible for the CAD/PLM systems at AGCO, explains: “It was important for us to install a system with the highest possible luminous intensity and with very high-resolution in order to facilitate effortless operation.”
The virtual reality centre at Fendt has been in operation since February 2012 and the media technology was installed by the VISCON company. It was decided together with the operator to use two Christie D4K35 projectors. “Apart from the light output and the required 4K resolution, the decisive criteria for selecting the Christie® 4K projectors were the favourable power consumption and consequently lower operating costs”, says Einsle by way of clarifying the choice.
“The operation of the entire system was supposed to be as simple as possible in order to facilitate effective and constructive work. We were to install a system that combined the maximum image size with maximum resolution and highest light output, as well as low service and maintenance costs and maximum reliability”, says VISCON Project Manager, Manuel Kirchesch.
The 3-chip DLP® projectors provide a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels with a light output of up to 32,500 ANSI lumens. Fendt is one of the first users in Europe to use two projectors of this type built into a passive stereo unit. Both D4K35 projectors use Infitec filter technology and an AR tracking system, projecting onto a large Stewart rear projection screen. In the meantime, the projectors have proven themselves in operation with their reliability and homogeneous image quality.
The powerwall was erected in a conference room in order to facilitate interaction with, and in front of the large image projection; this was no easy task, since the spatial dimensions in the basement of the company were limited. As a result, the maximum screen size was dictated by the construction and access dimensions. “In order to attain the image size required and save space we installed projection via a deflecting mirror and both projectors with 3kW lamps are just three metres from the screen,” says Manuel Kirchesch. Here the Christie 1.0:1 lenses also proved their value.
To provide optimal air conditioning, the Fendt technicians installed their own system that does not just clear the residual heat, but also contributes towards a reduced extraneous noise volume in the conference room; this was of particular importance to the Fendt company, where the requirement was the ability to confer in peace in front of the screen at any time.
In terms of control, an optimal utilisation was also sought and there is one computer each for left and right eye, controlling each quadrant of the projection screen, so that a total of eight controller computers in operation can be activated by touch panel using a Crestron controller. The light and sound states in the conference room can also be controlled using the same touchpad.
While one set of glasses is fitted with a tracking system and can provide whoever is operating it with an optimal viewing angle to the object, there are twenty Infinitec glasses at the disposal of the other observers, so that everyone in the room can follow the high-resolution image signal in 3D.