What Is Augmented Reality?
Let’s start with the basics here. What exactly is augmented reality?
Some consider it the happy medium between virtual reality and the real world. Unlike virtual reality that fully immerses your senses into a computer-generated landscape, augmented reality (AR) remains firmly grounded in actual reality by overlaying computer images and other digital content onto a real world environment.
Although the technology for AR originally has its roots in the gaming industry, the potential for various industrial applications has excited many leading manufacturing companies and has been quickly adopted on many production floors throughout the world.
Unlocking better productivity on the factory floors is one of the primary drivers leading this immersive technology into the future.
Consider a few of these innovative ways manufacturing companies are utilizing AR into their work flow…
Enhance Complicated Assembly
Imagine production lines that require thousands of pieces to be assembled in an exact sequence as quickly as possible.
Add in the complexity of working with assembly instructions for a new component that require the users to look back and forth from their work field to static PDF documents and you can begin to appreciate how difficult this process can be.
Augmented reality technology takes those assembly instructions and puts them in the user’s field of view so he can access them at any time through voice-controlled activation.
Not only does this free up the use of both hands, but AR increases efficiency on the floor by eliminating the need to walk back to a work station to check diagrams and charts for further instructions.
Improve Maintenance of Equipment
Using the same principles of augmented reality for assembly work, this technology is also beneficial for maintenance tasks as well.
One of the current challenges maintenance personnel are struggling with is confirming a maintenance target with a maintenance manual which tends to be very exhausting and time-consuming process.
With the help of AR, maintenance personnel can access information in their field of view and apply this support technology to complete their task easily and efficiently.
For example, some AR tools allows users to access a 3D image of the proposed maintenance part for inspection and then confirm the inspection using voice controls.
Access to Expert Support
When technicians are in the field, they sometimes are faced with situations that they don’t know how to solve and manage.
In the past, experts in that field would have to travel to the work site in order to resolve the issue with the help of the technician.
Augmented reality brings this expertise through digital format.
For instance, when technicians are unable to resolve an issue, expert help is only an image away as AR allows the expert to view the problem through the lens of the technician who is sharing this real-time, visual information with him.
This allows the expert to provide technical support from anywhere.
Augmented reality offers many advantages to the manufacturing industry.
If you value improving human performance through efficiency, speed, and precision then AR may be something you will want to implement at your manufacturing facility.