ELKHART - Elkhart-based Lippert Components Inc. (NYSE: LCII) is turning to a high-tech solution to cut time and cost from the prototyping process. The recreational vehicle manufacturer is now using augmented reality to customers during its design phases. In an interview on Inside INdiana Business With Gerry Dick, RV Product Manager Dominick Bilancio says a full prototyping cycle typically takes around a month, and if the client doesn't like the result, it's back to the drawing board. Bilancio, who was joined by Director of Digital Innovations Michael Rupcheck, said the digital process is much more streamlined compared to traditional ways.

Bilancio and Rupcheck spoke with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Kylie Veleta on last week's show.

Typically, engineers receive basics schematics and specifications. Over the course of about two weeks, the prototype will be drawn and produced. Verification and assembly could tack on another week and by the time a customer can return to LCI, Bilancio says, the process has stretched to about four weeks. "If you come back and tell me that you don't like the desk that we're sitting at, we start the whole process all over again, so now, I can spend an afternoon with you, get a basic schematic drawn up in the computer and we could actually shrink it, real time. I can go back upstairs to engineering and we can grow it a couple of feet, shrink it a couple of feet and you'll actually be able to experience it in your floorplan," he described. "So, when I release something for the first time, you've already seen it in your coach."

Rupcheck says AR is already being used more and more in the manufacturing industry as a whole, but he is unaware of any other RV makers tapping into the technology. You can read more about LCI's use of AR from Kylie Veleta by clicking here.