When Boeing included AR into their assemblies, their production time was reduced by one quarter, and the number of errors dropped almost to zero.
Augmented reality, however futuristic it may sound, is an essential asset for many organizations active in the manufacturing sector.
It has become an important tool in narrowing the skill gap among workers and boosting decision-making processes. Bringing together the real and virtual world, it creates an enhanced way of receiving information, gaining confidence in one’s skills, and learning.
Augmented reality has proved itself to cut production time, lower error rates, and improve safety standards.
Still on the fence about whether you should consider using AR solutions in your organization? Let’s have a look at five use cases of AR in manufacturing.
Design and prototyping are extremely lengthy processes prone to risk. They go through periods of trial and error until the project reaches a satisfactory state. However, AR can help simplify significant aspects, including collaboration between executives and product developers.
The never-ending back-and-forth of feedback and insights can be sped up by creating a 3-D model of a product and trying it out in the assembly line. This way, it is possible to virtually check the product for quality and eliminate any manufacturing issues before the product is released to the public.
Troubleshooting and maintenance
When workers run into an issue, they usually consult a manual or call a more experienced team member for help. This means spending time waiting or searching for the right information.
The use of augmented reality can make processes like problem identification and troubleshooting more efficient.
With AR, technicians in the field or on the shop floor can receive support in real time.
A remote professional can observe the scene and draw AR annotations right into the shared view, showing the exact point where the technician needs to intervene.
Thanks to wearable devices, technicians can diagnose and fix a problem with both hands free and without distractions.
Furthermore, when supported by sensor data and analytics, AR increases preventive maintenance capabilities that help to avoid expensive downtimes.
Workers can see real-time information from assets, such as temperature or possible points of failure, by simply looking at a piece of equipment.
Quality control and inspections
Augmented reality can also be used for quality control during production. Typically, products are monitored by employees and checked for defects by visual inspection.
However, it can be easy to unintentionally miss a defective product in such a fast-paced environment.
To optimize quality checks, many manufacturing organizations started to use AR. When workers look at a particular product, IoT sensors on product components can determine whether the parts meet necessary quality requirements.
It helps technicians spot defective products almost instantly, reducing inspection time and errors that might have been overlooked otherwise.
During assembly processes in manufacturing, the outcome and time spent on a task vastly depend on the performer’s skills.
Errors and confusion degrade work performance, and assemblies often consist of hundreds of steps. That is enough to overwhelm even seasoned professionals, not to mention new team members.
However, with easy-to-comprehend AR instructions, workers can be guided through a process step-by-step.
Supported by digital media and AR overlays indicating what needs to be done, every step can be performed accurately and on the first attempt. No more unsatisfying results or lost costs.
And finally, training. Efficient training and onboarding are necessities for organizations that want to thrive, considering the ever-growing skill gap and silver tsunami washing over the industry.
Enhancing traditional classroom training with augmented reality allows workers to perform tasks hands-free and focus on what’s in front of them.
Rather than looking into paper manuals and reading complex diagrams, it enables them to engage fully. Provided with virtual demonstrations and straightforward instructions, workers can learn autonomously when performing real fixes.
This reduces onboarding and reaction times and builds an autonomous workforce that knows how to handle any challenge.