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McLanahan provides virtual reality experience at MINExpo

By |  September 28, 2016
McLanahan used the Gear VR headset to show some of its equipment not on display at MINExpo International 2016. Photo by Megan Smalley

McLanahan used the Gear VR headset to show some of its equipment not on display at MINExpo International 2016. Photo by Megan Smalley

McLanahan Corp. offered a new way to experience equipment at its MINExpo International 2016 booth: through a virtual reality headset.

McLanahan brought Gear VR, powered by Oculus Technology, to its MINExpo booth in Las Vegas. The technology involves a headset with a Samsung smartphone attached to it. McLanahan set up the tool for show attendees to view equipment that was not on display in full size in 3-D.

McLanahan’s setup takes users on a virtual tour of two products – a rotary scrubber and a jaw crusher.

“This is our first time using it at any show,” says Andrea Ritchey, marketing and communications specialist at McLanahan.

When the company discussed equipment to showcase at MINExpo, a McLanahan global market office expressed a desire to showcase the rotary scrubber and rotary wet trommel screens, as these would attract iron ore sand producers, Ritchey says.

“These are huge, huge pieces of equipment,” she says. “So we had to come up with another way to show those off.”

McLanahan showcased its rotary scrubber through the Gear VR technology at its MINExpo booth. Photo courtesy of McLanahan.

McLanahan showcased its rotary scrubber through the Gear VR technology at its MINExpo booth. Photo courtesy of McLanahan.

And that’s when the decision to use the Oculus Gear VR headsets came about. Throughout MINExpo, show attendees stopped by McLanahan’s booth to test the virtual reality tool and see equipment in 3-D that wasn’t physically on display. One setting of the technology even allows users to step inside the machine.

The Oculus Gear VR is a fairly new technology, as it debuted in November 2015. Ritchey didn’t notice any other manufacturers using the technology at MINExpo in the same manner as McLanahan. But she did see some companies using it for operator training.

Although this type of technology is still in earlier stages, aggregate producers may see more use of virtual reality at future trade shows.

McLanahan will likely use the technology again at trade shows when possible, Ritchey adds.

“It’s so expensive to bring equipment if it’s so big to shows,” she says. “We’re hoping that this is the way we can show more of our equipment at shows in the future. We hope to have full plants eventually that people can walk through and see.

“I would assume this technology would improve with time,” Ritchey adds. “And this was just our first go of it, so we’re excited to see what it can do.”

About the Author:

Megan Smalley is the associate editor of Pit & Quarry. Contact her at msmalley@northcoastmedia.net or 216-363-7930.

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