The arrival of the year 2000 brought with it high expectations for the world of technology.
For STOLA s.p.a. in the field of car design, the area of 3D virtual Reality became of great interest.
The technical directors,Gottardo Bustreo, Gianfranco Morlacchi supported by Carlo Biassoni pushed Roberto Stola to reflect on the importance of a VR facility for engineering.
As in 1981, with the first cad cam systems and milling of numerically controlled models nineteen years later,a level of innovation was expected.
The continuous desire for car manufacturers to reduce "time to market" of a new model, the will to cut back on the number of prototypes for cost reasons whilst at the same time improving quality, meant a VR room was answer that they were looking for.
Gianfranco Morlacchi undertook several trips, sometimes accompanied by Carlo Mantovani, around Italy, Belgium as well as a special visit to Sindelfingen to the Mercedes technical center.
The final choice was to invest in a Barco BR-909 system with active steroscopic back projection on a 3 x 2.5meter screen.
The Stolas are so convinced, that together with the Engineer Alecci they will decide to buy two systems for the technical centers of Rivoli and Cinisello Balsamo, thus creating two twin virtual rooms that will be operated in November of the same year.
In Rivoli, in the department for the development of aesthetic mathematical surfaces, it was necessary to have tools to increase the quality of visualisation and analysis of shapes.
In Cinisello Balsamo where the activity was mainly dedicated to the development of body, trim and chassis projects, a lot of computing power was required to manage the high level of the graphical data needed for digital mock-up and analysis techniques.
In the milestone year of 2000, at both locations the two virtual reality rooms were equiped with tools such as Silicon Graphics Octane Bi-Processor workstations complete with with on board Opticore software, and Sun SunBlade Bi-Processor with Catia software 4D Navigator and Unigraphics Vis Mockup.
STOLA s.p.a would share these new technologies,in particular with Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Ferrari, Maserati and the Same group.
Through these two virtual rooms, and the new analysis tools, customer relationships become more active and dynamic, thanks to the simultaneous sharing of technical solutions and possible improvements that could be applied in real time.
Work processes were changing and required even more internal and customer progress meetings.
Engine compartment layout, fuel systems, air conditioning, simulation of the assembly of external and internal finishes and mechanical and kinematic checks were just some of the activities carried out in partnerships between the Stola Team, the customer and the many specialist co-designers.