Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

How Augmented Reality Can Help Manufacturing Companies Simplify Manual Processes

iTechArt has been helping manufacturers to revolutionize manual processes with augmented reality for years. Their clients include Equal Education, SVRF, Poplar Studio, and Doctors Without Borders.

AR enables workers to access information on the job via an overlay, eliminating the need for printouts or spreadsheets. This speeds up access to work instructions and increases productivity.

Training

The use of augmented reality can drastically reduce training costs and improve information retention. It also reduces the risk of error during new employee onboarding. This is particularly important in manufacturing, where complex and potentially dangerous equipment is used. New workers often need to learn their jobs quickly and thoroughly to keep production running smoothly.

Augmented reality enables employees to access work instructions in real-time. It can also help close the manufacturing skills gap by making valuable knowledge accessible throughout the entire employee lifecycle. For example, using AR to deliver step-by-step digital work instructions allows frontline workers to understand how to operate machinery without having to rely on online manuals or person-to-person instruction. This reduces the amount of information that is lost between “listening” and “doing.”

Industrial AR also provides more accurate and precise instructions than traditional methods. For instance, when producing car headliners, a worker needs to know exactly where to place the padding, glue, and wire harness. Using an AR headset, the worker can view the exact 3D model of the part and follow the directional cues. This eliminates guesswork and reduces errors during assembly, improving production speed and quality.

In addition, industrial AR enables engineers to easily diagnose mechanical issues and make repairs on the fly. This reduces maintenance costs, downtime, and the need for supplementary resources. In turn, this allows companies to meet customer demand for quicker delivery times.

Inspection

Manufacturers across industries face different challenges, but industrial AR is flexible enough to assist them in any way. Simplification of complex manufacturing processes is one of the most common applications of this technology. It allows workers to follow digital work instructions superimposed on their field of vision, avoiding the need to refer to routing slips and other paperwork. This results in reduced error rates and shorter maintenance times, which leads to increased productivity and lower cost.

For example, Newport News Shipbuilding uses augmented reality to inspect U.S Navy aircraft carriers near the end of their production cycle. Using an AR headset, engineers can view a 3-D model of the carrier and easily augmented reality manufacturing companies identify parts that do not meet specifications. The system also tracks cycle time, defects, and other operational data to improve efficiency.

Mobile AR solutions also allow employees to access warehouse inventory data while working, reducing equipment downtime and minimizing supply chain lead times. This is demonstrated in the below video, where an employee is able to scan and view inventory data on a smart phone while navigating a warehouse. This flexibility enables manufacturers to optimize the entire production process, from planning and scheduling to assembly, inspection, and maintenance. This is why more and more companies are adopting augmented reality software. It is a powerful tool that can significantly reduce manufacturing costs and improve the quality of products.

Maintenance

During the production process, equipment breakdowns can significantly impact productivity and revenue. AR technology enables maintenance teams to quickly identify issues, reduce downtime and prevent production loss.

Using an AR app, technicians can easily access all information necessary to perform a repair or upgrade. The app can display or superimpose instructions to help them locate the location of a problem, as well as provide step-by-step guidance for correcting it. It also offers real-time performance data, such as cycle times, defects, and other factors.

In addition, AR apps can allow users to collaborate remotely with other maintenance technicians. This allows the technician to receive advice from a colleague in a different location and speed up repairs onsite.

A leading supplier of motors, drives and connection devices, Rockwell Automation, uses augmented reality to support its field service and maintenance operations. Its mobile AR solution, MARMA (Making Augmented Reality for Maintenance) connects maintenance operators with the digital factory through a handheld AR solution that provides access to work orders, asset tracking and inventory management, as well as detailed step-by-step digitized procedures.

This helps to avoid the need for manual paper documentation and allows technicians to easily follow complex procedures without risking their safety. The technology is also capable of recognizing visual features such as specific colors, patterns, or textures, enabling the software to identify an object and its status at a glance.

Logistics

Logistics, or supply chain management, is a key function that ensures the correct movement of goods to the right place at the right time. It is also responsible for ensuring that products arrive at the end consumer in good condition. This requires an efficient flow of information, which augmented reality can help to create.

Using AR, logistics workers can see 3D images of the warehouse and locate the product they are looking for. This can save augmented reality manufacturing companies them a lot of time and reduce the risk of errors.

For example, GetVu uses AR to help line pickers be more effective. It displays order information on the headset and allows them to pick the right item in less time, making it faster and easier for them to fulfil air shipment orders.

Augmented reality also makes troubleshooting on the shop floor much easier. Using the software, technicians can superimpose detailed instructions on equipment to guide them through any problems or repairs. This can also help to reduce the cost of repair as it prevents the need for a costly factory visit. The software can also track manual processes and defects so companies have a better understanding of how their factories are functioning. This is crucial for continuous improvement and helping to drive operational efficiency. It is an important part of the digital transformation that many businesses are embarking upon in the modern manufacturing era.

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