The most frustrating part of an industrial or manufacturing project is by far planning. The machines and the spaces they go into are so large that it’s difficult for the human mind to visualize them correctly. Drawing everything on a piece of paper helps, but it’s not exactly precise, and it still doesn’t really help you figure out if the machines you’re drawing will operate correctly in that configuration. CAD drawings fix a lot of these issues, but they take weeks and sometimes months to produce, and they’re not interactive, if you need to make a change, you have to wait another week or more.
What if you had software as simple as the popular video game The Sims, allowing you to drag and drop machines, connect them with conveyors, move them around, look at each machine and even look at them in action? This was the tall order we gave ourselves when we started designing Liveline, our production line configurator designed in collaboration with Premier Tech Digital. We achieved all that and a lot more.
Inspired by video games
Our goal was ambitious, we wanted software that would help our sales team and our clients figure out project scopes faster and more efficiently, but we also wanted it to be so simple it could even be considered fun to use. To achieve this, we hired an ex-video game producer to spearhead the project and infuse his experience into what became Liveline.
Perhaps one of our biggest challenges was that pen and paper is a very intuitive tool. It’s something that we use every single day, it’s fast, it helps us get understood. For our software to become a success, it would need to be as intuitive as a pen and paper and give better results.
The most intuitive action you can do on a computer is dragging and dropping an object. It takes us back to our childhood playing with blocks and figurines, and it just works. This is one of the reasons why the videogame The Sims is so popular. Players simply drag elements of a house to build it, and everything just connects to each other. You see your house grow and evolve before your eyes, it’s a pretty magical experience.
We knew that drag and drop had to be at the core of the experience of Liveline. There’s a certain “wow” factor to dragging an image of the machine you’re discussing and a little 3D model of it popping up when you drop it in the software. Conveyors can be “clicked” into place between machines, and dragged to extend them to the correct size. It’s easy, efficient, and even fun just like a video game. In fact, this software was built using Unreal Engine, the same as most video games today.
Another unforeseen benefit of Liveline is that it’s an extremely powerful tool in remote meetings. In 2020, these meetings became the only ones we could do, pen and paper were just not an option anymore. Our software is simply the best collaboration when it comes to planning a manufacturing environment. Not only is it easy to use over a video call, but you can take screenshots and even record videos of your avatar walking through the virtual factory.
A commitment to customer satisfaction
Developing this tool was obviously a part of our desire to continuously keep ourselves at the cutting edge of technology. It was also a desire to streamline our processes and make sure that we all worked in an efficient manner.
But more than anything, the reason why we built Liveline was because of our commitment to our customers. We knew that messy sketches on paper or waiting weeks for static CAD drawings just weren’t cutting it. We believe that our relationship with clients doesn’t begin when they sign a contract with us. It starts as soon as we have a conversation with them. We wanted everyone who spoke to us to feel like the process of buying one of our machines was the best experience possible for them. That’s what we always strive for, and what we accomplished with Liveline.
Contact us today for your project and experience the power of Liveline for yourself!