Using Twinmotion to Visualize your Factory Layout

Visualizing your Factory Layout

There is no doubt that an impressive and immersive visualization is a critical part of any project proposal.  We all know the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but here is another saying I am fonder of… “What do I have to do, draw you a picture?”  Visualizations allow us to communicate our ideas at a level of understanding where text and speeches simple cannot compete.  If you are looking to buy a house, are you persuaded by the elaborate and wordy descriptions of the property or are you swayed by the immersive pictures and video walkthroughs highlighting each room?  It’s not even close.  High end immersive visualizations have the ability to put you inside the new project and let you “see for yourself” the value of the proposed plan or layout.

Factory layouts projects are no different.  The last thing entrenched management wants to hear is that you intend to alter a current production line or completely re-configure the layout for a new facility or space.  These changes may represent costly downtime or fly in the face of tried-and-true traditional practices.  This is where you need to clearly communicate your intent and ideas and an immersive layout visualization becomes essential.  The visualization allows your team to see and understand the new process or layout and provides a level of immersive understanding that a basic 2D drawing and supporting set of general notes simply cannot. 

Factory Layout Image from Twinmotion

You may find yourself bidding on a large, lucrative project where you a competing with other firms for the business.  In these cases, it is imperative that your design shines brighter and is more memorable than any other.  In situations like these, your visualization capabilities are more important than ever.  What good is it to have the best idea or solution to a problem if you cannot share the vision with your potential investors or building owners? 

Generating the actual factory layout is fairly simple.  The Autodesk Factory Design Utilities makes this process relatively easy.  While the Factory Utilities are not the primary focus of this article, the factory layout workflow needs to be taken into account.  The Factory Design Utilities are available in the Autodesk Product Design and Manufacturing Collection and are  integrated into AutoCAD, Inventor, and Navisworks.  Each of these applications are utilized at specific times during the layout development.  In general terms, the factory layout workflow proceeds from 2D AutoCAD to 3D Inventor, then to Navisworks for visual confirmation and spatial analysis.  So where do our mind-blowing visualizations come from?

Image - Typical Factory Design Utility Workflow

Using Twinmotion to Visualize your Factory Layout

When it comes to visualizing your factory layout, the Autodesk Product Design and Manufacturing collection offers several alternatives.  You may choose to generate still renders in Inventor Studio, or simple walkthrough videos in Autodesk Navisworks.  If you want to include special effects or cinematic quality animations, you could export your project to 3DS Max and develop your visualization there.  Each of these options has its own merits and drawbacks and up until this point, have been the only visualization tools available.  But there may be a new solution that can easily generate high quality visualizations at little or no increased cost to your current bottom line.  This new tool is Twinmotion by Epic Games and it will soon be an official part of the Autodesk architectural collection.  The Autodesk manufacturing community may have to pay an additional fee for now, but this tool is completely worth the additional $500.00 a year.

Twinmotion allows you to quickly import or sync your architectural design and produce incredibly immersive visual renders and animations.  If you have any doubt about the capabilities and quality of this application, simply go to the TwinMotion website (Twinmotion.com) and immerse yourself.  You will see how easy it can be to include high end textures, materials, lighting, and people to your digital design. 

Autodesk recently announced that Twinmotion would be included in its Architectural collection along with Revit.  It is quite obvious that Twinmotion compliments the architectural design discipline, but it is also an incredible enhancement to the factory layout workflow as well.  You may recall that the typical Autodesk Factory Design workflow usually ends up in Navisworks where visual and spatial analysis is accomplished.  Navisworks can produce a .FBX file that can be uploaded directly into Twinmotion.  The Twinmotion application dovetails perfectly with the existing factory workflow and is the perfect finishing point where our immersive visual experiences can be generated. 

Image - Factory Design Utility Workflow with Twinmotion

These immersive visual experiences include the typical renders and walkthrough animations, but they also include 360 panoramas, cloud based presentation sites, and the long awaited feature of Virtual Reality!  The immersive nature of these visual experiences is enhanced by the vast library of materials, textures, and lighting effects that can easily be added to the digital mockup.  You can also add moving people to your scene and the human assets already include a diverse set of characters wearing personal protective equipment like hard hats and safety glasses.  You can also add custom object paths to represent products moving down your conveyor lines.  All of this is accomplished in an easy to use drag and drop environment that can be up and running in a very short amount of time.  The following images show the default Navisworks version and the initial Twinmotion version of the same factory layout.  With just 5-10 minuets of work, you can transform your Navisworks digital mockup to an immersive, VR ready, visual experience. 

Factory Layout Image from Autodesk Navisworks

Factory Layout Image from Twinmotion

Factory Layout Image from Autodesk Navisworks

Factory Layout Image from Twinmotion

I encourage you to visit the Twinmotion website, create an account, and get the software installed.  You can use the software for free.  The license simply unlocks the high definition export options.  I truly believe Twinmotion will become your rendering and visualization tool of choice for all you future Factory Layout projects.  If you have additional questions about Twinmotion or the Factory Design Utilities, please contact your IMAGINiT Technologies account manager. 

 

About the Author

Rusty Belcher

Manufacturing Solutions Consultant<br><br>Rusty provides implementation, training, and support services at every level for all Autodesk Manufacturing products. His specialty involves the integration of 3D design practices into manufacturing production environments. As an instructor and mentor, IMAGINiT regularly receives outstanding reviews of his impact to their customer’s organizations.

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