As more pressure is put on manufacturing companies to increase productivity and reduce waste as a means to remain competitive due to increased globalization and digitalization, many companies find themselves investing in their production systems, leading to changes in their existing factories and production systems. This process is usually performed with 2D CAD drawings and data of varying quality, leading to several challenges along the way. This longitudinal research follows up on eight years of industrial studies where researchers have applied 3D laser scanning and immersive virtual reality to improve the brownfield factory layout planning processes in real industrial scenarios, a novel approach in the research field. By interviewing key stakeholders at each company and analyzing the findings, challenges in data availability and accuracy of existing data, grasping scale and perspective, and challenges gathering input and communicating around planned changes are identified and shown to be substantially alleviated by the application of the technological tools and allowing more people to be part of the factory layout planning process. By using virtual engineering, industries can improve their brownfield factory layout planning process and take well-informed decisions leading to sustainability benefits via fewer costly mistakes, improved employee engagement, and less need for travel.
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