Are you ready for Augmented Reality? It’s ready to revolutionise your entire manufacturing process. Let’s find out more.
Augmented Reality (let’s call it AR from now on) is a technology that superimposes digital content over a user’s natural field of sight, creating an interactive, immersive experience. Using AR with a headset, tablet or phone, the user can engage with the digital images - and it feels ‘real’.
AR is already huge in gaming and social media. Fashion brands use AR to help customers see what they would look like wearing their new purchases as they shop. But AR is also already changing the way manufacturing companies bring their products to life. In this article, we’ll look at how it all works. Let’s get started.
AR use cases
Here are three ways manufacturers are already making use of AR in their processes:
- Training – AR is excellent as a training tool, creating safe, immersive environments where workers can get hands-on with any scenario. In an AR-simulated environment, employees can learn or refresh their training even on the most complex machinery with no risk. Trainers can easily monitor them and offer guidance as they go.
- Maintenance – Think of AR as a digitally-overlaid instruction manual. AR annotations and overlays help engineers diagnose and fix issues quickly when things go wrong. It all helps to reduce downtime and lower maintenance costs.
- Quality control – As well as assisting workers to put products together faster and more effectively (again, it’s the digital instruction manual), you can use AR to compare finished products with ideal versions (called a digital twin), making it easier to identify defects that the naked eye might miss.
Benefits of AR
But why is AR making such waves in the manufacturing world? It’s because it delivers a wide range of benefits, all with a positive return on investment.
Firstly, AR helps boost efficiency. By providing real-time visual guidance to staff, whether on the production line, maintenance teams, quality control or anywhere else, workers can complete even the most complex tasks faster, with a better chance of success. In addition, compared to a classroom setting, training using AR means the worker is more likely to retain the information.
Next, AR raises safety standards – a top priority in manufacturing. AR technology can help employees quickly detect and fix safety problems, even when the issues are highly technical. AR has massive potential with remote assistance, allowing experts to guide employees through complex tasks from anywhere in the world.
Finally, AR boosts innovation. It encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing between teams no matter where they are. Designers can use AR to get exceptionally creative with new ideas, simulating them in real-world environments to assess viability. As a collaboration platform, AR keeps teams connected. The result? Better products.
Looking to the future
The future is bright for AR in manufacturing, especially as AR hardware and software continue to improve at an astonishing speed. Improvements in connectivity make AR work faster and expand its possibilities.
However, if you’re just starting out with industrial AR, it can be daunting as there’s so much happening and change happens quickly.