Bridging the Gap between Virtual Planning and Reality
Holo-Light: Industrial Augmented Reality Solutions for Engineering and Manufacturing
Founded in 2015, the rapidly growing start-up company Holo-Light has garnered a great deal of industry attention so far. Holo-Light is a pioneer of the augmented reality (AR) revolution. The AR expert offers software and hardware solutions to improve engineering workflows — focusing on factory planning, plant design, prototyping and quality control. Florian Haspinger, CEO and co-founder of Holo-Light, speaks about the beginning and growth phase and the future goals of the start-up.
CHEManager: Holo-Light was founded 5 years ago. How did it all start?
Florian Haspinger: We founded Holo-Light at a time when augmented reality was still new in the industrial sector. A big step was the announcement of Microsoft´s first AR smart glasses HoloLens. We saw a huge potential for industrial use, managed to get a device quite early and used this market advantage to build first solutions. With our engineering background we also knew first-hand where the challenges lie. We decided to bridge the gap between virtual planning and what is ultimately real.
Besides being pioneers, what are the differentiating features of Holo-Light?
F. Haspinger: Our augmented reality engineering space (ARES) enables engineers not only to visualize their own CAD files — including the whole hierarchy level — but also to manipulate and work collaboratively on them. With interactive streaming for augmented reality (ISAR) we also created a way to visualize large amounts of 3D data in real size — for example, a large chemical plant. Our software solutions are complemented by Stylus XR, the most precise AR input device on the market. It allows engineers to perform millimeter-accurate work, measurements and movements in an AR environment.
How has the response from the chemical industry been so far?
F. Haspinger: Without the feedback from the chemical industry, we would not have the solution we provide today. In one project we simulated the behavior of different plastics and faced the challenge to visualize high volumes of data. This triggered us to develop our remote rendering solution ISAR. The close cooperation with industry players helps us to create added value. And we want to develop together with the companies, not over their heads.
What have been the most exciting projects?
F. Haspinger: A flagship project is how BASF uses our AR software and digital twin to significantly reduce time and material cost in factory planning processes. The planning of complex assemblies on 2D screens can be tricky: The digital plan and reality oftentimes diverge. By means of AR, BASF visualizes and manipulates envisaged pipework and assemblies directly on site. This allows engineers and planers to determine on the spot whether everything is in order or further modifications are needed. “What if” testing scenarios also give them a better understanding of their projected designs.
What will be the next steps to develop Holo-Light from a start-up to an established company?
F. Haspinger: We have a very good technological basis and are now working more and more towards scalability. With the help of our investors, we can strengthen our support structure and distribution channels in order to bring our software even faster to the customer and deliver updates to them quickly. And with Microsoft´s HoloLens 2 recently released, we also incorporated new exciting features in our solution for a very intuitive AR experience.
Florian Haspinger, CEO of Holo-Light, born in Tyrol, studied physics at the University of Innsbruck before specializing in aerospace engineering in his master‘s degree. He has a fable for computers and loves to write software programs in nearly every kind of computer language. Together with his fellow students Susanne Haspinger (COO), Alexander Werlberger (CTO) and Luis Bollinger (CMO) he founded Holo-Light in 2015.
Redefine Engineering with AR
How to overcome the barriers between people and technology? How will engineers work in the future? And what new possibilities does augmented reality (AR) offer in factory planning, plant design, prototyping, and technical education? These questions were asked by the German start-up Holo-Light. Consequently, the AR player developed one of the most collaborative AR software suites to efficiently cut costs and improve engineering workflows.
The augmented reality engineering space (ARES) enables engineers to visualize and interact with 3D CAD data in an AR environment — leading to better planning processes, shorter development cycles and seamless product designs. Engineers or industry designers can securely import all their CAD files into the software and can visualize them in the real world with a head mounted device like Microsoft´s HoloLens 2.
Furthermore, the AR workspace enables tight collaboration. Any team member can dial into an AR session and see the exact same model just as all other viewers can. This is not only useful for prototyping or factory planning. Sales or Marketing departments can also use the multi-user mode for presentation purposes.
With interactive streaming for augmented reality (ISAR) Holo-Light also created a remote rendering solution to visualize data-intense content via local or cloud processing power. In real size and time, with every detail, and without using polygon reduction. A software development kit (SDK) also allows other companies and developers to stay in control, while crafting their own bespoke remote rendering AR solution.
Holo-Light’s software solution package is complemented by Stylus XR, an AR input device with artificial-intelligence-based tracking technology. Allowing engineers to perform millimeter accurate operations in AR like the precise marking and measurement of objects. It is also possible to sketch and design fully interactive 3D holograms, using the environment as a personal canvas.
AR Expert with Strong Partners
Founded in 2015, Holo-Light operates out of their primary offices in Munich, Germany, and Innsbruck, Austria. The company´s mission is to develop the industrial Augmented Reality workspace for enterprises and market leaders; optimizing and simplifying their engineering performance, leveraging industrial data, and generating competitive advantages in the age of digital transformation. The AR expert has received numerous awards both in Europe and across North America for its continued success in improving Augmented Reality through cutting-edge technologies in both hardware and software sectors. Major customers are BASF, Festo, TÜV, Magna and BMW.
- Foundation of Holo-Light
- Launch of first AR software product Holo View
- Holo-Light joins Microsoft´s Mixed Reality Partner Program
- Nominated for the Austrian State Prize for Innovation
- New Investor Innogy Innovation Hub
- Launch of AR input device Holo-Stylus
- Holo-Light wins German Innovation Award
- Named community prestigious AWE Auggie Award Winner
- Winner of BAUMA Innovation Award
- Cooperation with Deutsche Telekom’s tech incubator, hub:raum
- Holo-Light receives €4M Series A financing
- New lead investor EnBW New Ventures
- Microsoft HoloLens 2 global roll out
- New augmented reality engineering space (ARES) software suite
- Launch of next generation AR input device Stylus XR
- New interactive streaming for augmented reality (ISAR) remote rendering solution
- Start of Series B funding round