K+S

Development of a sound engine for the K+S VR loader


Making underground salt mining come alive virtually

Task

K+S AG is a German mining company specializing in potash and salt.  Working in close cooperation with the technical visualisation company CMC Engineers, it was our aim to develop a sound engine for an innovative and realistic simulator that K+S could use for training their staff. With technical visualisation and complex sound technology, salt mining would then come alive via the VR loader.

Solution

Our recording team went deep down into the mountain, 900m under the surface. Here, we experienced salt mining live. Characteristic sounds from the loader like brakes, acceleration, collisions, shovel events or the sounds of the complex hydraulic engine were recorded via a 3D microphone array so that they could be reproduced in the simulator.

In the K+S SimLab, the simulator was set up on a hydraulic platform and equipped with an exact copy of an operator’s cab. For optimum sound reproduction, we installed five loudspeakers and a subwoofer in the cab walls. In addition, we fitted a buttkicker under the operator’s seat that reacts to audio signals and supplies tactile stimulation.

Our sound engine is matched with the VR loader’s game engine, developed by CMC. The sounds are generated and reproduced dependent on various vehicle parameters. During software development, functionality was clearly in the foreground so as to guarantee maximum realism. Because for the operator, the sound is of great importance in order to correctly interpret the vehicle’s behaviour. Conversations and test drives with experienced operators helped in perfecting the sound behaviour.

Result

Through the complex interaction of movements via the hydraulic platform, technical visualization and comprehensive sound reproduction, the K+S VR loader ensures a realistic simulation. The overall sound design supports the virtual imagery, while offering additional orientation, and thus optimizes the operators’ training auditively. As of now, the simulator is in use for training purposes.

Credits

  • Client: K+S AG
    Projectmanagement: CMC Engineers
    Hardware: DBF Solutions und aufwind Group – creative solutions
    Sound Agentur: WESOUND GmbH

Services

Sound Design
Sound Design
WESOUND-icon_10-VR-AR-MR
VR / AR / MR
Research & Development
Research & Development
WESOUND