To become a leader and excellent manufacturing company, you must prepare for the future. This means you have to up your game in terms of learning new technologies, developing your strategy, and implementing digital tools that would give you an edge over your competitors.
One way to take a stride and establish yourself as a de facto leader in manufacturing is through the use of industrial augmented reality. But what is augmented reality and how is it being used in manufacturing? This article looks to explore the topic in detail.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is an interactive experience that enhances the real world with computer-generated perceptual information. Using software, apps, and hardware such as AR glasses, augmented reality overlays digital content onto real-life environments and objects.
AR can be used to create virtual prototypes of a product before time and effort can be invested to deliver the final product. Prototypes can prove to be cost-effective as they save companies time and money, and also produce more creative designs.
There are many benefits that industrial augmented reality offers to workers and manufacturers. Top of these benefits include;
- Greater employee safety
- Enhanced operational efficiency
- Better decision-making
- Improved product quality
- Reduction in operational costs
How is AR being used in the manufacturing industry?
Currently, the top 5 industrial augmented reality applications for manufacturing include employee training and upskilling, quality control and maintenance, product design and assessment, logistics and warehouse management, and customer support. Let’s have a deep dive into the details of these use cases.
1. Employee Training and Upskilling
Manufacturers can now use specialized AR devices and applications to help workers with their skills and competence. AR promotes the simulation of real-life activities into a semi-virtual environment, enabling manufacturers to execute their plans without physical equipment and resources.
New workers can now be safely and effectively trained on crucial manufacturing processes and taught how to operate complex machinery. In case they make any mistake during the process, there will be real-time notification in the form of a visual warning or audio prompt.
2. Quality Control and Maintenance
AR offers 3D imaging capabilities enhancing the efficiency and accuracy of manufacturing. Workers can now wear AR glasses or augmented reality helmets to benefit from high-quality, 360-degree representation of products. Enhanced visualization of products helps manufacturers prevent defects during the production stage, and effectively fix anomalies during product exploitation.
With AR, manufacturers can also connect and cooperate with other experts across the globe, and this fosters continuous production with nondisruptive performance. Due to advances in IoT, augmented reality can deliver even greater results.
3. Product Design and Assembly
Due to the visualization capabilities offered by AR, manufacturers can enjoy ample product design opportunities and capabilities. Manufacturing designers and technicians can visualize and interact with a product in detail, and work on its features.
AR applications allow workers to access convenient hands-free and voice-controlled manufacturing guidelines, without wasting time searching for information across multiple platforms.
This creates faster access to resource materials, enabling workers to focus more on their surroundings and key tasks.
4. Logistics and Warehouse Management
With AR glasses and other AR hardware, manufacturing workers can organize goods and equipment that need to be moved and managed in warehouses.
AR glasses can guide workers through warehouse areas so that they can find and select items among multitudes of other items. With AR, workers can quickly scan data and retrieve and upload the items needed onto the loading dock.
5. Remote Customer Support
Augmented reality helps customers connect directly with technicians or maintenance personnel and ask for a consultation, regardless of their physical location.
Take an example where a client experiences trouble with their vehicle. They can reach out to experts who can use AR technology to provide detailed instructions.
They will view the customer environment through a video feed to guide them through the repair process. The two parties can engage in collaborative problem-solving without having to waste time getting to and from their locations.
Use Cases of AR in the Manufacturing Industry
Siemens AG: Siemens AG offers Augmented Reality solutions to improve services. One such masterpiece is AR-enabled goggles that monitor performance and guide on repairing and assembling all the components.
Lockheed Martin: Lockheed adopted Augmented Reality to boost the speed and accuracy of the manufacturing processes. With AR, engineering personnel would identify flaws and fix them before they become severe.
Boeing: Boeing makes use of AR to find the location parts. Besides, cognitive technology also instructs engineers at Boeing to assemble aircraft.
Adopting AR benefits a lot to Boeing since they noticed a reduction in assembly time, elimination of errors, and improvement in productivity.
Dassault Systems: Since Dassault operates in 3D designs and product engineering, the company’s use of AR is massive. The 3D experience platform makes use of AR headsets or tablets to interact with essential information.
When you are in the market to adopt AR technology for your manufacturing processes, there are key decisions you have to make. Start by identifying time-consuming and resource-requiring areas.
Once you have identified those areas, work to build a prototype and carry out several tests.
Once the prototype is finalized, look for an AR app development company to build custom software to make the desired features available at your demand. The final step would be to teach your employees how to operate all the systems.
Final Thoughts about Industrial Augmented Reality
Augmented reality is making its way into ordinary business environments. New applications and devices are in development every day, and more companies are turning to machine vision to streamline operations.
To become an excellent manufacturing company, you must prepare for the future. You must learn new ways to deliver better products to customers within the shortest time possible. Industrial Augmented reality is transforming the manufacturing industry by improving numerous manufacturing processes, quality, and effectiveness.
Manufacturing processes can be enhanced when workers have access to real-time information.
Industrial augmented reality technologies will continue to grow and develop, and they will become more helpful to businesses of all types. Companies that embrace these technologies will stay ahead of the competition and be more profitable in the future.
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