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Social Innovation

Reopening: A New Dimension

3D Digital Design Simulation Software Platforms 3D Digital Design Simulation Software Platforms

By Eldor Reif, Senior Manager, Solutions Strategy Planning at Hitachi America, Ltd., and Hiroshi Murakawa, Vice President and General Manager, Digital Solutions Division at Hitachi America, Ltd.

Use 3D Digital Design Platform to Remotely Reopen Your Facilities


The manufacturing industry has been hit hard by the global pandemic and while the long-term impacts are still unknown, the short-term effects are staggering. According to a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Kearney, more than 75% of manufacturing output has been negatively affected throughout the world.1 The problem is, unlike other downturns, this time the key to a quick recovery is figuring out a safe way to get workers back on the job.

The keyword here is “safely.” The WEF study also clearly states that the top priority for manufacturers remains the wellbeing of employees. While office workers have been able to adapt to COVID-19 in large part by switching to a remote workforce, unfortunately for manufacturing professionals there are a number of jobs that cannot be done off-site.

There is light at the end of the tunnel as new 3D survey and design technologies allow for safer planning and implementation of innovative solutions designed to get factories up and running quickly.

mitigate the threat of COVID-19 in factories

These technologies are helping mitigate the threat of COVID-19 with capabilities such as:

  • Social distancing detection, tracking, analysis, and reporting (DTAR)
  • Health behavior monitoring DTAR; including detection of hand washing, falls, and employee temperatures
  • Worker safety DTAR, including alerts of dangerous or irregular behavior
  • Touchless access, enabling entry through 3D Gesture & Click systems

Now is the time to begin evaluating operational solutions and strategies for reopening. To do that, a thorough assessment of the manufacturing site is required to ensure the space complies with new health and safety guidelines. However, deploying groups of people into your facility to perform the needed assessment only puts additional people at risk.

So, how can you evaluate your site accurately and quickly, while keeping everyone safe?

Developing a Cost-Effective Strategy Remotely

Modern 3D Digital Design Simulation Software Platforms and accurate 3D site survey services are proving to be an ideal approach for the current circumstances. Together, they are able to accelerate site assessments, while simultaneously minimizing the number of people who must enter a facility and reducing potential rework costs by 10% or more.

The advanced 3D Digital Design Simulator Platform from Hitachi (Platform code name: 3DEZ) allows you to accurately digitize real-world facilities and generate real-life 3D models which can then be used to improve both overall safety and production output. 3DEZ can also be used to layout the placement of new technology and equipment — right from the desktop.

Starting with the site assessment, the advanced 3DEZ platform with a modern 3D site scanning technology simplifies the survey of the plant and requires only a single person to be on-site. The 3D site scan mobile kit is able to capture all the data required within a few hours. That’s it, it’s that simple.

The 3DEZ Platform then takes the data from the site scan and creates an interactive 3D blueprint – typically within 24 hours. This allows you to remotely reimagine facility layouts to best utilize the space and help protect employees. You can also determine where to place any new technology like various sensors, cameras – even simulating what each camera will see based on its positioning, and experiment with different designs to optimize workflow for social distancing.

Hitachi’s 3D Digital Design Simulator Platform can help you:

  • Transform your site into a 3D digital blueprint. An automated solution lets you rapidly capture and generate interactive 3D models from factories, buildings, retail spaces, transit and rail systems, warehouses, and other facilities.
  • Optimize asset placement. Once you have a real-life 3D model of the project site, you can remotely perform preoccupancy planning for social distancing, site optimization, asset placement, and other simulations needed to safely reopen your site.
  • Remotely access and study offsite locations. A flexible, high-availability Platform-as-a-Service solution lets you virtually explore, navigate, and reimagine facilities with accurate point-to-point measurements — all without leaving your office.
  • Support cost-effective collaboration. An effective solution empowers you to collaborate with stakeholders using powerful new design tools, so you can obtain faster pre-approvals of proposals and minimize expensive and risky site visits and reworks.
  • Access a nationwide 3D survey services network. Choose a solution that can provide localized professional services, so you can generate 3D models of job sites or train your staff to perform scans in-house.

It is worth pointing out that selecting a technology-agnostic platform is the most suitable option for most operations as it allows for greater flexibility. For example, you could select cameras from one vendor and a data analytics platform from another – finding solutions and pricing that best align with your requirements.

Planning for the short term, building for the long term

Secure Our City, Inc., which designs, delivers, and supports customized physical security solutions, recently employed the 3DEZ Simulator to develop a proof of concept for a COVID-19 testing site at a university. Secure Our City scanned and digitally documented more than 30 IT rooms across four campuses spread throughout the state. The project was a complete success and revolutionized the company’s operations.

“Since the proof of concept and adoption, we have standardized 3D digital blueprints and 3D design as part of our offering to all of our clients,” said Geva Barash, Founder and CEO of Secure Our City. “It was very impressive how quickly the on-site 3D scan process went. We planned for two days and completed the process a half-day early. We definitely see the benefits of using this technology, and fully expect it to be the standard in the next two to three years.”

Tapping technology to reopen safely

Sirius, a leading national IT solutions integrator, was already using Hitachi’s 3DEZ platform to perform mapping for a potential healthcare client as well as modeling for its own advanced healthcare lab. So, when the pandemic hit, the company already understood how the technology performed and how it could expedite reopening when the time comes.

”3DEZ is instrumental in helping us make design decisions about how to deploy thermal imaging stations,” said Imran Salim, senior vice president of Healthcare Strategy and Solutions at Sirius. “For example, should we place a kiosk in our lobby, or by the entranceway where people first walk in? Or should it sit by the elevator? Should we have multiple locations? Should we route foot traffic in a different way? In addition to helping us with these reopening decisions, we’re also looking at additional ways we can use 3DEZ in the future, for ourselves and in the solutions we provide to our clients.”

Looking beyond the crisis

remote monitoring of manufacturing facilities using AI and analytics

Reopening manufacturing facilities and boosting production requires thoughtful planning and a strategy that does not compromise safety or future business continuity. Utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics to perform ongoing remote monitoring allows you to refine and optimize your operation to support the new normal in the months and years ahead.

The COVID-19 crisis has taken a massive toll. However, how we choose to respond to it can actually lead to improvements in the design of manufacturing facilities that are more agile, efficient, and safe. For manufacturers looking to resume operations while also rededicating themselves to social innovation and powering good, the lessons learned today can be the first step toward a brighter tomorrow.

Learn more about 3D Solutions and Services.

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Eldor Reif , Senior Manager, Solutions Strategy Planning for 3D Digital Solutions, Hitachi America, Ltd.

Eldor Reif
Senior Manager, Solutions Strategy Planning for 3D Digital Solutions, Hitachi America, Ltd.

Eldor Reif is the senior manager for solutions strategy planning at Hitachi America, Ltd. Eldor focuses on the creation of new and innovative, high-quality digital solutions for customers and partners. He formulates long-term collaboration with Hitachi groups, manufacturers, service providers, system integrators and technology partners. Eldor’s recent experience includes owning new 3D digital solutions lifecycle, product planning, market research, solution requirements definition, technical assessments and benchmarking.

Hiroshi Murakawa, 
Vice President, General Manager, Digital Solutions Division, Hitachi America, Ltd.

Hiroshi Murakawa
Vice President, General Manager, Digital Solutions Division, Hitachi America, Ltd.

Hiroshi Murakawa heads the Digital Solutions Division at Hitachi America, Ltd. His practice focuses on delivering the digital solutions for the industry fields. His background includes more than 30 years at Hitachi, Ltd. including 10 years with Hitachi America, Ltd. (2003-2008, 2015-present).

World Economic Forum, “How to rebound stronger from COVID-19,” April 2020