T-Drill, a company specialised in tube and pipe fabrication solutions, goes to about twenty exhibitions each year. Picks of the company’s broad machinery selection are showcased at the events, including, for example, industrial cutting, collaring and flanging machines and flexible manufacturing systems. Some of the solutions are special machines customised for the customers’ needs.

How to showcase something which does not exist yet?

”We manufacture several different solutions for tube and pipe fabrication, such as collaring and flanging. We mostly deliver our standard machines, but we also offer fully tailored solutions.

At larger exhibitions, showcasing a large selection of products can be done more comprehensively, but smaller events present a challenge. In addition, there may only be one copy of some machines, which is already being used by a customer. This is why we showcase our extensive selection of machinery with the help of virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) at exhibitions”, says Jessica Ekola, Marketing Coordinator at T-Drill.

The first time T-Drill’s machines were showcased with the help of a VR and AR application was at the Engineering Works Trade Fair in Tampere, Finland, in March 2018. Experiences with the XR Showroom application were so good that it was used once more at the Tube trade fair in Germany, which is an important customer meeting place for T-Drill.

XR Showroom application

“Examining a machine virtually is new to exhibition visitors. There is still a clear threshold for putting on VR glasses, and people are somewhat shy about trying them. The XR Showroom tablet application, which utilises augmented reality, is more tangible and approachable. The visitors think it is cool to be able to see the machine on a tablet from the angle you want and even from inside. This is a feature that is not even possible with a machine on site,” says Jessica Ekola.

With the tablet, showcasing the machine is clear and visual.

“Scale is always important to the customer, and, therefore, we use extended reality to also show the actual size of the machine. We show what is where, and demonstrate how the machine can be moved. With the tablet, we can approach the customer instead of waiting by the stand for someone to come and see the machine standing there.

Because of costs, T-Drill has often mostly showcased smaller handheld machines at exhibitions.

“Visitors who have seen us at exhibitions do not necessarily know that we also have large industrial machines. We can now instantly show that we offer high-quality automated machines for all kinds of needs. The benefit of the XR Showroom, compared to photographs and videos, is the ability to get closer to the machine, and the application shows the machine’s features more tangibly. I think the application can be utilised more broadly on other industries as well,” says Ekola.

Cost-efficient showcasing of machinery

Participating in exhibitions always requires a lot of preparations from T-Drill before the doors of the exhibition hall open. A handheld collaring machine is still a relatively handy showcase product to transport and fits in a smaller stand, as well. Larger machines require weeks of construction and large stands.

“In addition to the construction of the machines intended for demo use, we have previously had to budget the construction of the exhibition stand and the numerous working hours spent on these as exhibition expenses. The freight charges of the machines are always at least one thousand euros.”

When the tablet is used for showcasing, a salesperson who knows the detailed facts on the machine is not always present. This is why T-Drill is going to add more detailed information about the showcased machines into the application. Before the Subcontracting Trade Fair in Tampere, T-Drill’s XR Showroom will be updated with the machines’ technical and functionality details with the help of Wakeone.

“The people at Wakeone are effortless and easy to work with. The straightforward and approachable people at Wakeone are always quick to get down to business,” says Jessica Ekola, Marketing Coordinator, T-Drill Oy.

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