Augmented Reality for Manufacturing Companies
AR software allows engineers to view 3-D models of their products on a device’s screen. It also includes tools like a virtual ruler, which automatically creates precise dimensions for components and machines.
AR software lets manufacturing businesses offer complicated technical training for new hires and upskilling opportunities for experienced workers. It can also provide workforce access to clear illustrations, digital checklists, and step-by-step holographic instructions to reduce errors.
Identifying and Tracking Assets
AR has been shown to improve asset management by simplifying tracking and identifying equipment. Mobile computer vision-enabled smart devices that support AR can scan a piece of equipment to instantly display data on its condition, maintenance history, and more. The ability to quickly identify a specific machine in real-time allows staff to make more informed repair decisions and reduce the time required to complete tasks.
AR also provides the capability to see a 3D model of an object or part, as well as its dimensions. This information can help with planning, design, and development processes. AR can also enhance training by allowing instructors to remotely interact with students while they perform hands-on exercises in a virtual environment.
Augmented reality is a powerful tool that can help manufacturing companies reduce maintenance costs and downtime by providing remote assistance. For example, Rockwell Automation offers an AR app that lets operators, technicians, and engineers use their smartphone to request live help from a colleague for troubleshooting a mechanical issue that could slow down production.
Companies can further develop AR technology to make it more useful for their customers by integrating it with other transformational technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. The combination of these three will allow manufacturers to better understand the context in which their products are used and offer solutions to address any issues that may arise.
Creating a Digital Twin
A digital twin is an immersive virtual replica of an object, system or process. It’s typically used to analyze, model and perform simulations to help improve performance and eliminate bottlenecks. Taking this approach can lead to cost savings and better decision-making.
In a manufacturing setting, augmented reality technology can quickly create a digital twin to allow workers to visualize products and systems. It can also provide access to engineering augmented reality manufacturing companies drawings, parts lists, technical documents and ergonomics data. This allows employees to troubleshoot and resolve issues faster and more efficiently, improving productivity.
For example, if a delivery drone sustains minor wing damage on a flight, the company can use a digital twin to determine whether it’s safe to land or continue flying. This type of real-time virtual assessment helps businesses avoid costly downtime and meet customers’ expectations.
The resulting digital twin can be made available to internal and external stakeholders via VR, AR, or even IoT applications. For instance, Matterport offers an easy-to-use platform that uses AI to capture images and digitize them into a navigable 3D virtual space. This enables construction teams to collaborate more effectively, iterate designs more rapidly and achieve photorealistic renderings with a high level of detail.
Another example is Passive Logic’s smart building platform that uses an AI engine to engineer and autonomously operate IoT systems in buildings. It delivers advanced monitoring and analytics, synchronizes devices through integrated control systems, and learns from sensor data to continuously optimize operations.
Providing Product Training
Augmented reality is a powerful tool for training employees, especially in the manufacturing industry. It helps them learn how to use equipment and understand complicated processes without having to rely on a human trainer. Additionally, augmented reality can help with safety training by using immersive environments to walk them through potentially hazardous scenarios augmented reality manufacturing companies and providing real-time reactions such as visual warnings or audio prompts if they don’t follow proper safety protocol.
Moreover, augmented reality can make it easier to assemble complex products by overlaying work instructions or information with 3D models. This can make the process simpler and faster, as well as reduce errors. For example, in a pilot project conducted by GE Renewable Energy and software provider Upskill, an AR-enabled smart glass helped a technician wire a wind turbine, saving him 34.5% of his assembly time compared to the traditional method.
Other applications of AR in manufacturing include enhancing warehouse operations by superimposing inventory management data such as barcodes and expiration dates onto physical entities. This can make it easier for employees to find items quickly. Snap and Farfetch are two companies that have already incorporated this technology into their apps. Both use gesture recognition to allow customers to signal to the app that they want to try on another handbag or see a piece of clothing in a different color.
Enhancing Workplace Safety
AR technology uses the camera on a mobile device to alter the real world by overlaying digital information onto it. The hardware needed for AR — processors, input devices and display sensors — is already available in most modern cell phones.
When it comes to industrial work, this kind of augmented reality can make a big difference in worker productivity and safety. It can help workers to quickly locate parts, complete maintenance tasks and stay on top of a project without having to leave their workspace.
AR can also enable employees to learn how to operate complex and dangerous equipment in a controlled environment. This virtual training can save time, reduce the hazard of attempting to operate unfamiliar equipment and ensure that all employees have the necessary skills before they begin working in an actual manufacturing facility.
For example, if a worker needs to replace a component in a machine, they can use AR to identify the exact part that is required. They can then connect remotely with a subject matter expert who can view the situation in AR and provide instructions to fix the issue.
Another way that augmented reality can improve manufacturing operations is by providing data that supports health and safety inspections. AR can be used to record and validate that a worker has visited all of the required checkpoints on a piece of machinery during an inspection. This can prevent an inspector from overlooking a crucial safety feature.