Reynaers Aluminium is a leading European specialist in the development and marketing of innovative and sustainable aluminium solutions for windows, doors, curtain walls, sliding systems, sun screening and conservatories. Driven by energy-efficiency and the willingness to take responsibility for the environment. The headquarters are situated in Belgium, however the group is present in over 40 countries worldwide.
Both to enhance the communication and collaboration with partners and to meet the company’s goal to provide integrated systems, Reynaers decided to invest in visualizing its systems and solutions. In the fall of 2015, the company planned to integrate this new visualization system into the new and upgraded offices-to-be in Duffel, Belgium.
Reynaers had following visualization demands to be met:
The system should show Reynaers’ solutions in their intended set-up, i.e. in private homes, in large buildings, etc. It should be able to visualize large 3D-models to several viewers at the same time. The viewer should then be able to stand outside the model, e.g. a large building, to look up at it as well as to stand inside the model and be able to look around and move in it.
A cave with roof projection to look up, at the model or in the model, and with floor projection to create the experience of standing inside or outside the model was the visualization solution NANCO had in mind. The front screen of the cave could then be used as a 2D-powerwall for presentation when needed. The cave’s technical challenge here was that there was no cellar under the cave to install the floor projector in. And to build an equivalent solution to a cellar was not an option as it wasn’t budgeted for.
Another challenge was the available space. The office architects limited the area for the cave to a minimum leaving only a narrow space where multiple projectors, computers and a cooling system had to co-exist. Moreover, the cooling engineers pointed out that there would be technical problems to effectively cool down the entire set-up in this cramped space.
As most systems and solutions need maintenance, especially projectors whose lamps have a limited life expectancy and therefore need replacement and projectors need re-calibration, the challenge was to find a sustainable solution to minimalize system maintenance.
As the installation was abroad logistics were expected to be challenging as purchases, deliveries and transportations within the European Union are not always smooth.
An alternative to rear projection is front projection. This would therefore be the solution for the floor projection at Reynaers: instead of projecting from underneath the floor as there was no room available under the cave, the projection would come from the roof. Easy enough if it hadn’t been for the demand there’d be a roof projection as well.
The combined solution was therefore to create a partial roof projection allowing a full floor projection: a 4.80m x 0,90m roof projection was more than enough to look up at the model or to look up standing in the model. This leaving enough roof space for a full floor projection.
Laser projectors’ run time are not weighed down by lamp life expectancies and are less in need of re-calibrations. In other words, they are more stable and they make the installation more operationally reliable. These laser projectors could have been the answer to Reynaers’ low maintenance demands, if it were not for the minor detail that such projectors were still in the make and hadn’t been released yet… and wouldn’t be by the time the visualization system had to be up and running. The only solution was to postpone the project for 6 months, which Reynaers agreed to. In order to let the technology catch up with the demand, the installation was successfully moved from October 2016 to April 2017.
Finally, most of the logistical hiccups were gracefully dealt with.
Thanks to the successful cooperation between NANCO and Barco, Reynaers has as of June 2017 a newly installed cave in its Avalon room visualizing large 3D-models with the latest laser projectors, 25 pcs. totally: 12 side projectors, 9 front projectors, 3 roof projectors for the 4.8m x 0.9m roof projection and 1 for floor projection. The visualization system includes a track system and 3D-glasses immersing the viewer in a total experience of the model. To manage large 3D-models and to reduce the amount of conversions, meeting the demand of software flexibility, Techviz software was installed. The software was customized enabling up to 8 different application systems hand-picked by Reynaers.
A control system on iPads allows the user to control the cave, switch between cave and powerwall modes and manage the light system, the stereo audio system in the cave, the 5+1 audio system in the audience room and the room’s electric curtains. An operator desk with two computers is installed for further management.