Augmented reality solutions have started to take professional and commercial settings by storm. While some companies still shy away from digital transformation, the top-tier industry leaders in manufacturing and maintenance are already utilizing AR features, optimizing their operations, and making the lives of countless workers and technicians easier with every task. Find out how AR solutions simplify maintenance and repair processes and how they might work for your company.
AR software in manufacturing
One of the most prominent industries using AR is manufacturing, boosting performance, productivity, and efficiency. For example, Lockheed Martin found that after they started to use AR in assemblies, the time required to interpret instructions was reduced by 95 %, overall training by 85 %, and their productivity increased by more than 40 %.
Maintenance and repairs are significantly affecting business continuity in the long term. Mistakes during these seemingly routine procedures can cause instability and interrupt production processes – partially or in full. It is no secret that prolonged downtimes and faulty machines may become costly very quickly, which is why it is a good idea to focus on prevention and lasting solutions.
Depending on the level of digital maturity, one of the best long-term solutions can be AR workforce support. In general, workforce support helps workers feel empowered, encourages them to strive for better performance, and ensures that they never fail on the job. Workforce support can be divided into three tiers:
- The worker is empowered to work autonomously by using an app with relevant instructions needed to carry out tasks
- Workers are encouraged to collaborate and learn from each other to solve issues more easily
- When a worker runs into a problem that the two previous forms of support cannot solve, they can reach out to an expert that helps them solve it remotely
These types of support leave room for a certain amount of autonomy, which enhances workers’ confidence in their skills and enables lean operations and cost-saving. Here are six simple ways how AR can simplify maintenance and help you tackle unwanted production disruptions.
Nowadays, in manufacturing, the daily tasks include putting together thousands of tiny pieces in exact order. While during typical maintenance, the technician would have to check each machine component manually; with AR, that’s not necessary. When a service technician arrives on a site, augmented reality can overlay help to identify with higher accuracy what needs to be replaced and how.
Using physical manuals that come out of date can often be confusing and slows technicians down. Straightforward step-by-step guides enhanced by AR remote assistance ensure that tasks are carried out quickly and with precision. Also – one picture is worth a thousand words. With visual and interactive standard operating procedures (SOPs), technicians can rely on images and animations. Furthermore, workers are not distracted by outside noise or a language barrier anymore, even if the instructions are not in their mother tongue.
Fewer human errors
Since humans make mistakes, inaccurate diagnostics or insufficient repairs may occur. Digital standardized instructions keep workers on track. The technicians are guided through complex procedures, making it less likely for errors to occur and achieving better first-time fix rates.
Taking the load off experts
When it comes to maintenance or repairs, technicians are often required to go on site. As there is no unlimited number of experts, it may be worth saving the best for the most challenging cases. With AR, it’s not an issue anymore – not every technician needs to be trained for every situation. An expert can always be just an AR video call away – guiding the workers through any problem without waiting, no matter the distance. Experts can see and hear everything workers do and offer clear and detailed directions without getting on the road, saving time, fuel, and remotely covering more issues.
Closing the skill gap
AR directions may also be used to reduce growing skill gaps. Training or reskilling can be performed actively by carrying out real cases of maintenance or assemblies. Instead of reading complex static wiring diagrams, the new team members can call for interactive AR guidance from an expert helping with the task.
Remote support provided by AR ensures that technicians in the field will succeed on the job immediately. The assistance of experts on the line is available in real-time, helping the technicians find the most effective and fastest solution. It is also possible to remotely guide customers through a preventive maintenance process, which extends the life of assets and, as a result, reduces downtimes.