(L-R) MP Richard Holden with Andy Broadbent, Principal and Chief Executive New College Durham and Alison Maynard Deputy Principal New College Durham
(L-R): Richard Holden MP for North West Durham, Andy Broadbent, principal and chief executive New College Durham, Alison Maynard deputy principal New College Durham.
Austen Shakespeare

Durham-based college unveils £1m VR suite to aid regional construction industry

The North East Institute of Technology at New College Durham has unveiled its new virtual reality design suite and robotics facilities.

The suite has seen an investment of £1m in building information modelling and manufacturing robotics.

Employers who work closely with the College have been amongst the first to be invited to see the equipment and try it.

The College has also hosted Richard Holden MP for North West Durham, and Kevan Jones MP for North Durham, who also tried out the equipment.

The Business Information Modelling/Virtual Reality Design Suite was designed to support digital construction industry needs covering building information modelling (BIM) with 3D model creation to simulate real-life scenarios for students and staff.

The facilities also allow the integration of virtual reality (VR) from concept designs, enabling students to be immersed in a one-to-one scale walk through model. The VR Active Wall studio is a full-scale immersive experience for groups to work together with the 3D model/design.

The IoT suite is also equipped with three robotic cells which feature Mitsubishi 6-axis bench size robotic arms. Each cell can be controlled by a hand-held teach pendant or by a laptop with Mitsubishi RT3 robotic simulation software.

Students are taught how to use both methods of control and to develop robotic programs to carry out similar tasks required by maintenance technicians within industry.

Andy Broadbent, principal and chief executive at New College Durham said: “The BIM/VR suite is a fantastic asset for the NEIoT. It will give our students the opportunity to create visualisations that support and evolve with fast-moving, complex projects.

“Technology in the construction industry is moving at a rapid pace. This suite will allow students at all levels to experience the latest technology which will enhance their employability skills.”

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