Author: Dima Titov
Due to its rapid technological advancement, Augmented Reality in manufacturing is a perfect fit. It was a hot trend long ago and it has reignited.
Assembly line, staff training, collaborative design, quality assurance, and maintenance: everything can be—and is—better with AR. Growing awareness and appreciation of AR’s value accelerates. There are use cases where Augmented Reality applications help boost—and simplify—workflow ensuring less time is spent from idea through prototyping to construction and finished product.
AR visualizes everything:
Visualizing everything makes it possible to determine the best option for a future prototype or to compare “what is” to “what should be” on the assembly line. In other words, you can show any detail right here, right now: a visual is worth at least 700 words of explanation.
Let’s see why and how it works.
How widespread is Augmented Reality in manufacturing?
Corporate giants, such as Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, and Boeing, have adopted Augmented Reality applications in both design and manufacturing. The list of companies using Augmented Reality keeps growing.
According to Deloitte Research, last year over 150 companies either experimented with or deployed AR/VR solutions.
The reasons to employ Augmented Reality in manufacturing and industry include:
- increased computational power
- small size of smart devices
- and advancement of technologies, e.g., eye tracking, increasing device responsiveness and ease-of-use
Two advantages of Augmented Reality in manufacturing are expert support in assembly and maintenance or inspection in remote locations where workers need extra assistance or hands-free access to information.
Augmented Reality examples in manufacturing
Apart from inspection and troubleshooting, manufacturing uses Augmented Reality applications as the first step in high-risk training, augments the work of a distributed team and increases automation on the production line.
Here are just a few Augmented Reality examples in manufacturing to illustrate how AR can work. The list of apps is quite long; the list of needs—endless.
- Construction. SightSpace Pro AR app makes it possible to show various models and designs to explain how future building design and construction will look in the real world, eliminating miscommunication between architects, workers, and clients.
- Automotive. Apart from being used to simplify driving, car manufacturers apply Augmented Reality widely to production and post-production, from apps for collaborative design through visual assembly guides to AR owners’ manuals.
- Agriculture. Pilot projects for farmers include Augmented Reality apps for insect identification and pest management. The app aims to solve the problem farmers face killing all insects, both harmful and helpful. The app helps them identify and eradicate only harmful species.
Augmented Reality solutions projected to further affect manufacturing
Augmented Reality is in huge demand by field workers providing features that other kinds of mobile apps lack.
Some manufacturers already tried Augmented Reality with less-than-stellar results. It is high time those early adopters give Augmented Reality a second life. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin is history; so, too, the Ford Model T—but not before making significant manufacturing marks on history.
Augmented Reality’s benefits are now immersive when it comes to decreasing operation time and/or boosting operational efficiency:
The boon of using Augmented Reality for manufacturing is restricted only by the limited number of enterprise-level Augmented Reality hardware suppliers and the price. However, there are practical apps right here, right now.
We should expect significant progress of AR hardware together with price decreases in the next few years. Be prepared for the increased demand when it arrives.