Augmented Reality: Breaking New Ground in Manufacturing

By CIOReview | Thursday, November 16, 2017
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Today, the potential of Augmented Reality (AR) has changed the way manufacturers are managing their work. AR has started to disrupt the industrial manufacturing plant floor, boosting operational proficiency by decreasing production downtime, instantly identifying problems and moving process smoothly.

AR can be used in the maintenance of manufacturing equipment. Currently, field workers and laborers need to confirm a maintenance target through a maintenance manual. Following maintenance manually is a time-consuming process, and is also a tiresome process for workers. Using AR to develop maintenance applications helps users reduce workload and avoid entry errors as they can enter the information vocally even in noisy environments. Many leading companies have already ventured into this like Mitsubishi Electric.

Another place where AR can be used in the manufacturing sector is in assembly instructions. Following a set of assembly instructions in a manufacturing unit is a difficult task as it requires workers to remember an entire work process. But with the help of AR, technicians and workers can easily access instructions when needed. For example, one of the leading manufacturers of commercial jetliners, Boeing uses AR technology to ease the difficult task of wiring that goes into every new 787-8 freighter. Currently, the company uses Google Glass and Skylight software platform from Upskill to increase the wiring process.

AR also benefits in the process of quality assurance. Just like manual maintenance, following an entire QA process manually is time-consuming and tedious. By leveraging AR technology, companies can instantly identify the problems and solve them, as features that are out of specification can be highlighted by the overlay.  Porsche technicians are already using AR as a tool in the QA process.

The use of AR in the manufacturing industry makes instructions more clearer and easier to understand for workers and technicians that in turn decreases the cognitive load. It also boosts the possibility that the right procedure is performed and reduces fatigue amongst workers.