LCR 4.0 case study: Heap & Partners
Founded in 1866, Heap & Partners designs and manufactures industrial valves, instrumentation and associated equipment. Based in Wirral, the company distributes its products to a range of sectors across the UK including oil and gas, chemical, nuclear and life science.
The LCR 4.0 team – a part-funded ERDF support programme for businesses looking to adopt industry 4.0 technologies – introduced Heap & Partners to the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) and the Science Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Hartree Centre to test and implement industry 4.0 technology.
The collaboration introduced Heap & Partners to the potential of both augmented reality and additive manufacturing (3D Printing) to create lightweight 3D-printed models of one of its industrial valves so it could easily transport them to and from its customers.
Additionally, LCR 4.0 helped Heap & Partners successfully develop an iOS AR app that can be used in conjunction with the 3D-printed valve. The app can be downloaded onto a smart device, such as a tablet, and pointed at the valve so users can visualise its internal workings and components.
Going forward, Heap & Partners can use the app for maintenance, training, marketing and as a proof of concept before further investments.
Since the collaboration, Heap & Partners has purchased its own 3D printer, and is now looking to employ a graduate to work with the company as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).
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