Augmented Reality in Manufacturing
Using AR to guide manufacturing processes can help companies improve productivity, efficiency and safety. The technology offers a variety of benefits from streamlined routine operations to improved production line automation.
Augmented reality is a new form of visualization technology that overlays digital data on real-world objects to help users perform tasks in a more interactive way. Manufacturers use it to provide step-by-step visual guidance for tasks like assembling and repairing components.
Streamlined Routine Operations
Augmented reality has helped simplify routine operations in many different industries. The streamlined processes it promotes have led to increased productivity, enhanced efficiency, and reduced downtime.
For example, workers can overlay digital work instructions directly onto a surface, reducing errors. This allows them to follow one direction at a time and reduces the amount of time spent on error-prone processes.
Similarly, companies can add audio cues to AR-based instructions to increase attention and ensure accuracy. This makes creating digital work instructions easier and faster, saving businesses money on training costs.
Another way that augmented reality has helped streamline manufacturing is by eliminating redundant tasks. These tasks can be a waste of time and resources, especially if they are repetitive across stages or phases of a production process.
Aerospace and defense manufacturing are particularly prone to these issues because the processes involve high levels of variation. This can lead to mistakes in assembly and quality testing, which can result in products being sent back for rework.
As a result, these industries require skilled technicians who can ensure the quality of the products they produce. These professionals can collaborate via telepresence with other engineers and technicians in other departments and plants to make sure that the product they are building is of the highest quality.
Maintenance teams can also use augmented reality to see equipment and hardware that needs servicing. This helps them to pre-emptively identify problems that could lead to prolonged downtime. By utilizing a solution like this, businesses can significantly reduce downtime and eliminate costly repairs.
Using AR, manufacturers can easily create and distribute digital work instructions that can be used by anyone on the factory floor. These guides will help workers perform tasks faster and more accurately. This will ultimately lead to a higher level of productivity.
AR can also simplify product design by offering visualizations of the finished product even before production begins. This is helpful for both engineers designing the product and technicians assembling it.
This can save time and money, since designers can create a 3D model of the final product in AR, which they can use to ensure that all parts fit and work well together. This allows the team to avoid costly mistakes and reduces the risk of injuries during assembly.
Another way augmented reality can be used in manufacturing is to improve efficiency on the shop floor by assisting with troubleshooting. When equipment or machinery breaks down or haults, it can be difficult to locate the cause of the issue. By supplementing work instructions and maintenance docs with AR, technicians can quickly see how the issue originated, so they can immediately take corrective action.
Similarly, AR can be used to compare quality photos of a part or assembly to its design specifications. This can be important for products that are used in mission-critical components, which could fail if the design specifications differed slightly.
In addition, AR can be used augmented reality in manufacturing to connect remote technicians with other experts on the manufacturing floor. This helps to speed up problem-solving and allows teams to collaborate without geographic boundaries.
The manufacturing industry is a fast-paced one, and companies must always strive to improve their processes to ensure the highest quality products. This is why they are increasingly looking to AI and augmented reality for training, innovation and product development.
AR technology helps employees learn new tasks and processes faster, while also making it easier for them to get the job done correctly. It allows workers to access digital work instructions, which can include step-by-step digital blueprints and instructional videos that are specific to the equipment they’re working on.
These instructions can be overlaid on a 3D model or hologram of the equipment so that they’re in context with what the worker is doing. This way, they can be sure to complete the task quickly and safely.
Additionally, AR systems provide instant feedback on how long it takes to complete a task, which can be used to incentivize workers to speed up their processes and minimize errors. This way, employees can improve their on-the-job efficiency while reducing labor costs.
By using augmented reality, manufacturers can identify the exact moments when enterprise-level inefficiencies occur. It also gives workers a visual representation of data points that are often hard to read from numbers or text alone, helping them see trends and possible efficiencies. This can streamline problem-solving and production process optimization, making it an invaluable tool for industrial leaders.
The manufacturing industry is a harsh environment with high risks of injury and mishaps. It requires workers to be trained properly and take the necessary precautions. These can be difficult to do in a real-world environment, but with AR it becomes easy for workers to access expert advice and real-time safety alerts.
One of the most significant use cases for augmented reality in manufacturing is employee training and upskilling. The simulation of the actual process without the need for physical equipment enables less experienced employees to learn new skills quickly and efficiently. This saves time and money, while ensuring that all workers know what they are doing and have an up-to-date skill set.
Another key use case for augmented reality in manufacturing is maintenance and repairs. Technicians can see important information about machines and processes projected directly on the parts that need repair, eliminating the need to consult charts or manuals.
This enables them to perform repairs on the spot and prevents costly downtime. It also makes it easy for them to understand why a machine has problems, so they can take action to remedy the problem.
Moreover, augmented reality in manufacturing can be used to display data about personal protective equipment and emergency shutdown systems. This helps workers better understand what they are wearing and how to operate them, preventing injuries.
Another key use case for augmented reality in industry is knowledge transfer and collaboration. This can help engineers and technicians in different parts of the world to work together on a project, improving production and reducing costs and downtime. It also provides a means of remote support for experts, who may not be able to travel to the site in person during a crisis.
Augmented reality in manufacturing has reduced downtime due to the ability to identify and augmented reality in manufacturing fix issues before they become a problem. This eliminates production downtime, which can cost thousands of dollars and cause damage to products and equipment.
AR also simplifies data access and accelerates problem-solving and process optimization. It can display a range of data points in a single view, allowing workers to see trends and possible efficiencies they may not otherwise be able to identify through text or numbers alone.
This is especially helpful in assembly, where augmented reality displays instructions in the line of sight and allows engineers to see the exact location of pieces to install them in a specific order. This increases assembly speed by more than 30%, which saves time and money while improving quality and accuracy.
Another use of augmented reality in manufacturing is asset identification. Maintenance personnel can quickly and accurately identify a machine and use digital information stored in the system to find out if it needs servicing or spare parts. They can also check the date of last service and potential pain points, enabling quicker response times and streamlined maintenance operations.
Companies can also use augmented reality in training to allow new employees to learn how to operate complex and dangerous equipment without damaging real assets or causing downtime. This is important in the manufacturing industry because 70% of skills are learned on the job.
The first step to implementing augmented reality in your manufacturing business is to map out your company’s processes and technology and determine which tasks can be enhanced or automated through AR. The second step is to create a prototype of the system to test it in a live environment and get feedback from users. Finally, it’s time to train employees to use the system effectively.