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Meet the challenges of the future

At the source of tomorrow’s products

The Saint-Gobain Group designs, manufactures and distributes materials and solutions that contribute to the well-being of everyone and the future of all.

Innately focused on innovation, Saint-Gobain Research Paris provides the best possible technological answers to questions arising in the field of habitat. We imagine and design the processes, products and uses of the future:

  • Development of high performance materials for habitat
  • Improvement of the environmental impact of constructions
  • Deployment of numerical and digital uses in habitat
  • Thermal, acoustic and visual comfort and indoor air quality

The future of habitat depends also on connected objects that are going to revolutionize our daily life.

Smart materials, virtual reality, new products and solutions: Saint-Gobain Research Paris constantly adapts to these new challenges and positions itself in the forefront for the whole Saint-Gobain Group.

While the products that we develop procure comfort and performance, we also make sure that they are safe, adaptable, accessible and beautiful.

Thierry, Virtual Reality Project leader

Recruited in January 2009 at Saint-Gobain Research Paris in order to develop a virtual reality activity, Thierry has developed around 10 projects, allowing the installation of a new material to be optimised, the simulation of sound insulation and the results of thermal analysis to be illustrated.

 

"Virtual reality encompasses the use of new digital technologies to enhance Saint-Gobain's solutions and provide support in developing research projects: concepts and innovations can be illustrated without physical mock-ups having to be built."

The digital technologies used range from computer-generated images to augmented reality and virtual reality.
"We are developing immersive, interactive and real time applications. The more sensations are used, the more a situation close to reality is produced."

For example, Saint-Gobain Research Paris is seeking to develop new, more efficient products for the thermal insulation of buildings. "To back up this research, we have developed a virtual reality application that allows you to experience the different stages of implementation of a thermal insulation system from the outside. This enables us to test innovations and note the time savings and cost."

Virtual reality can also be useful in training: "We have created a program dedicated to train spraying facade renders. It requires a technical movement of the body that has great importance on the final quality of the work. The program allows you to repeat the movement as many times as you want, applying a virtual render on a virtual facade, but handling a real spray gun."

Digital images and augmented reality are added to the virtual reality. "With digital imaging, we produce images that give a realistic rendering of glass facades, their reflections and the light passing through the glass," Thierry explains. "For Lapeyre, we are developing augmented reality applications that can assist with sales, such as the ability to change kitchen units virtually before buying them."

These technologies offer researchers the ability to foresee potential problems, give them assurances about the feasibility of their projects as well as helping showcase the Group's innovations and solutions. "The Virtual Reality activity has a real general function with, at the same time, both a marketing aspect and an R&D support role."

 

Thierry
Project leader Virtual Reality
Alessandro, Group leader

Working in a lab equipped with a latest-generation, big data cluster*, Alessandro arrived in 2004. He is a manager of Datalab and Head of the Applied Mathematics Group composed of 15 researchers with backgrounds in physics, finance and IT process all this data.

"At Saint-Gobain, production, sales and distribution activities generate terabytes of data. The Datalab is equipped to convert this data into information in order to improve processes and sales, and to create new services and products."

"Millions of pieces of data are saved each day in our computer systems. Datalab aggregates and analyses this data to put it into meaningful form for our development."

"The interpretation of this information generated during the industrial production and sales processes and forwarded by the Company’s various entities, can deliver a competitive edge for Saint-Gobain."

"Marketing data analysis has various applications in the area of sales. The data collected from customer visits to sales outlets can improve knowledge about what customers buy regularly. It enables us to provide them with additional items and products that they have forgotten to take. In just few seconds, the big data algorithms scan checkout receipts from the past few years and decipher consumer behavior, potential and sensitivity to price. In industry, processing mass data is a source of improved performance and greater process automation. For example, in the case of a float, the analysis of all the parameters used to control a furnace and the data about the quality of the glass it produces helps understand the furnace’s physics and factors around the appearance of glass defects."

"New services can also be developed by deciphering information in the products we manufacture. One of the applications of this technology is the identification of the position of defects on a sheet of glass using barcode markings. This data stored in the cloud is used by our fabrication customers when cutting the sheets in order to avoid the defects and so improve their yield."

"There are many avenues being explored for developing the use of big data. For the Datalab team, the prime aim is to successfully complete the projects submitted by the business units, especially in the area of digital marketing."

 

Alessandro
Group leader
* A cluster is a series of servers connected on the same computer network.

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