Close the Manufacturing Skills Gap With Augmented Reality in Manufacturing

Close the Manufacturing Skills Gap With Augmented Reality in Manufacturing

Close the Manufacturing Skills Gap

As automation replaces manual processes, augmented reality helps to keep frontline workers up to speed. With AR digital work instructions, employees have immediate access to consistent and accurate information, resulting in better productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

In one example, Lockheed Martin used AR to help technicians build laser weapons systems and integrated air and laser defense systems for the U.S. military.

Visualization of Data

Using AR, companies can digitize data and present it to workers in an easy-to-understand format. This can significantly reduce manual tracking and data entry costs, accelerate delivery times, and simplify inventory management.

For example, a warehouse worker can use an AR headset to get instructions about where to find the parts and materials they need in order to complete a task. The system can show the exact aisle and shelf in a warehouse where the items are located, eliminating the need for paper pick lists or hand-held scanners. This can result in a significant increase in productivity and accuracy, as well as a reduction in picking errors.

Industrial augmented reality can also improve maintenance processes. By overlaying equipment data on a physical device, technicians can see how a machine is performing and preemptively detect any issues. This will reduce maintenance time, eliminate production disruptions, and increase overall equipment performance.

Moreover, augmented reality can be used for training purposes. Companies can provide training to employees in an immersive environment that simulates real-world scenarios, providing them with visual and audio warnings if they aren’t following safety protocol. This helps to ensure that new employees are properly trained and familiar with the manufacturing process before they begin working on actual products. This can greatly reduce safety risks and training costs.

Virtual Prototypes

One of the most popular uses for AR in manufacturing is creating virtual prototypes. This allows workers to interact with equipment and workflows in a realistic manner, which can improve productivity. It also helps reduce downtime and repair costs, and it can help create a safer work environment.

Another use for augmented reality in manufacturing is allowing workers to access live data about production processes. This can include machine temperatures, humidity levels, and pressure settings. This can help manufacturers avoid downtime, which can lead to revenue loss. It can also allow them to make improvements in product design and bring new products to market faster.

AR can also be used to train new employees on complex machinery. This can save time and money augmented reality in manufacturing by eliminating the need to physically demonstrate the process to the worker. It can also increase the speed of training and help reduce human error in the workplace.

Another way to use AR in manufacturing is by incorporating it into a digital twin. A digital twin is a 3D model of an object that is built from the information collected by smart sensors. This can allow a company to monitor its equipment and processes, predict failures, and optimize operations. Bosch, for example, uses a digital twin of its factory to manage its processes and equipment.

3D Models

In manufacturing, AR is used to create a virtual model of the product to make it easier for workers to understand and perform their jobs. This reduces error and helps ensure a higher quality of the final product. Additionally, it enables manufacturers to quickly test designs without the need for costly physical prototypes.

Using an AR headset, workers can see what the product will look like and how it will work from all angles. This enables them to better manage customer expectations throughout the production process, increasing sales and creating a more seamless experience for the consumer. 3D models can also be created to help employees build or repair products more easily, saving time and money.

3D models are often sourced from CAD software and then converted into an AR compatible format. This process is typically done by internal 3D teams, a service provider or through the use of an AR content creation solution. These solutions include Unity, Unreal Engine, and Apple’s Reality Composer.

3D models are useful for demonstrating complex systems and procedures that can be difficult to grasp through traditional methods. Additionally, they can provide insight into complex data points that identify the root cause of enterprise-level inefficiencies. Manufacturers can then use these models to make informed decisions about how to improve processes and increase productivity.

Machine Vision

Machine vision is the ability to recognize and interpret objects and events. It can be used in various applications within manufacturing including quality control, inventory management, and more. With machine vision, workers can access accurate information about a part or machine in real-time. For example, when a worker is checking that an engine assembly has been built correctly, they can check that all of the components are in place. This helps reduce errors and speeds up production time.

Another useful application of augmented reality in manufacturing is digital work instructions that provide a more effective way for workers to learn new procedures. These instructions are projected onto the actual job site and guide workers through standardized processes. This eliminates ambiguity and reduces training time, errors, and cognitive load on the worker.

AR’s visualization capabilities also help with troubleshooting and equipment maintenance. It allows workers to view tendencies and receive instant assistance from a remote expert. It augmented reality in manufacturing also provides contextualized data and insights into equipment performance, which reduces repair costs and allows for non-disruptive operations.

Other important manufacturing applications of augmented reality include product design and safety training. Using immersive environments, companies can train employees on the safe use of expensive machinery and equipment. They can even walk them through potentially hazardous situations, and if they don’t follow safety protocol, the system will trigger a real-time response like a visual warning or an audio prompt.

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