Augmented Reality Solutions for Manufacturing

Using AR to guide frontline workers gives employees access to digital work instructions in a convenient and interactive format. This reduces the amount of text that needs to be written while improving accuracy and consistency.

Manufacturers can also use AR to train new workers with 3D models and holograms of equipment, virtual representations of workflows, and realistic simulations. This enables them to minimize the risk of employee error and reduce training time.

1. Digital Work Instructions

Digital work instructions provide a step-by-step framework for performing a task and may include images, videos, diagrams and augmented reality experiences. This kind of technology helps streamline manual procedures, reducing cycle times and improving quality.

Industrial AR solutions, such as GE’s maintenance check app, allow front-line workers to access data and information about equipment and components that are overlaid in the worker’s field of vision. This allows them to perform a more thorough maintenance check without having to involve a remote engineer, which reduces maintenance time and costs.

In addition to enabling a more comprehensive maintenance check, AR can also help manufacturers improve their product assembly processes. This is particularly true for complex products with many small parts and different configurations. For example, the preparatory phases for assembly using copying and templating systems (2D tracing paper drawings) can be lengthy and costly. DELMIA Augmented Experience for Assembly allows operators to replace these templates by displaying digital ones directly on the structure, resulting in a simpler and more intuitive assembly process, faster preparation times and improved quality.

Digital work instructions also simplify training and enables fast knowledge transfer from experts to front-line employees. This is possible with industrial AR solutions, such as xMake, which provides dynamic, easy-to-understand instruction that is superimposed in the field of view. This means that even less experienced workers can quickly get relevant instructions and perform a procedure without having to call a colleague for assistance, which reduces training time and boosts knowledge retention.

2. Digital Twins

Digital twins are a key technology in enabling the future of manufacturing. They represent a virtual counterpart of an object or system and provide a framework for monitoring its state and performance throughout its lifecycle. A digital twin can be used for design and engineering, production, operation, maintenance, and even product and process improvement.

One of the most common applications of augmented reality for manufacturing is helping skilled technicians troubleshoot industrial equipment problems. This involves using a 3D model of the machinery to identify where a problem is occurring. This speeds up the troubleshooting process and reduces downtime caused by equipment failure.

Other examples of augmented reality solutions for manufacturing include training new employees and improving collaboration between workers in different locations. For example, Volkswagen uses an AR headset to help its employees assemble augmented reality solutions for manufacturing cars. This allows them to see exactly where each piece goes and how to assemble the car faster and with greater accuracy than if they were just reading instructions.

Digital twins are often paired with IoT sensors and have been described as a “symbiotic relationship.” Digital twins bring structure, usability, and analytics to data from IoT devices that are difficult to understand and interpret. In addition, IoT sensors provide a steady stream of information that is fed into the digital twin. This provides continuous feedback that can be used to improve IoT device performance and performance.

3. Real-Time Work Guidance

As AR superimposes digital information onto physical objects and environments in real time, it can be used to display work instructions for manufacturing processes. This eliminates the need for traditional paper manuals and helps workers understand the steps of a task, which reduces confusion and mistakes. The technology also allows for more efficient training by demonstrating procedures to new employees and transferring expert knowledge to them.

Moreover, it improves quality control and assurance by helping technicians identify product defects in the assembly process. It can even highlight deviations from specific standards and alert them to correct these issues in a timely manner. Additionally, AR enables remote collaboration by allowing technicians to use a hands-free device to remotely assist their colleagues in different locations.

Lastly, AR facilitates the transfer of tacit knowledge by providing an immersive experience of perceptual data to help users make better decisions on the job. For instance, it can display the results of a performance analysis or show how to change equipment settings in a more intuitive way than written instructions. It can also provide a visual representation of complex data points, such as an entire machine dashboard, to simplify access and accelerate decision-making.

4. Collaboration

Using AR to track and manage inventory also helps to reduce supply chain costs, improve warehouse efficiency and speed up delivery times. Companies like Schnellecke Logistics use TeamViewer AR solutions augmented reality solutions for manufacturing to optimize their processes, reducing manual tracking and data entry and enhancing customer experience.

Industrial AR applications that include collaboration capabilities help technicians and engineers remotely troubleshoot complex equipment issues. An employee can focus the AR app on a specific problem and communicate with an expert through real-time video chat. This solution also helps employees reduce maintenance time and rework by ensuring the issue is addressed correctly before it escalates.

Augmented Reality also makes it easier for employees to assemble or install machinery. An AR application can overlay a holographic scheme with detailed instructions over a workspace to accelerate the process and improve accuracy. xMake, an industrial augmented reality software platform, is one example of an AR app that simplifies complex assembly tasks by providing dynamic step-by-step instructions directly in the worker’s field of view.

The technology can even detect mechanical anomalies and alert an employee to the potential issue. Then, the app can suggest possible remedies to resolve the problem and provide instructions on how to proceed with repair. This is exactly the kind of proactive maintenance that companies like Lockheed Martin use to reduce the risk of unexpected outages and keep their production lines running smoothly.

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