AR and VR: A safe landing on the plant floor

Revolutionize factory visibility with augmented and virtual reality. Seven tips are highlighted for taking advantage of the features.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) allow manufacturers to obtain information about the health of their equipment and product models. This leads to operational and process efficiencies, which in turn improves product quality and reduces time to market. These technologies take advantage of sensors, cameras, smart devices and wearables, and other tools of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Training becomes easier as workers gain visual and hands-on experience in front of machines, leading to improved assembly and maintenance. In aircraft assembly, for example, the AR device displays an image of components, overlaid with representations of specifications, bolts, cables, parts, and part numbers, making it easy for engineers to accurately assemble complex heavy machinery just by following instructions. At an aircraft manufacturing training center, this technology enabled engineers to increase productivity by 30%. VR-simulated training programs help new hires learn complex processes while immersing themselves in a 3-D animated replica of the actual facility. The method has led to higher retention rates compared to lecture-style or lecture-based methods, particularly for the next generation of workers more accustomed to the VR environment. At an oil facility, training helicopter pilots to safely land offshore oil rigs using VR simulation helped the company save $2 million on logistics. Their employees also retained 75% of the information disseminated during the training program.

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plant applications

Manufacturers can take advantage of AR/VR capabilities for multiple operational activities on the factory floor, including:

1. Design improvement

AR and VR can smooth the transition to individualized, customer-centric production, catalyzing the process of product design improvement. Together with a digital twin and the IIoT, the overlay features of AR and the auditory, visual and haptic simulation capabilities of VR allow product design engineers to generate, study and test virtual prototypes.

The automotive industry is investing a lot of money in AR and VR to improve product design. VR-enabled 3D visualization software helps OEMs reduce the cost of prototyping and improve the design review process and feedback loop. This, in turn, shortens the product life cycle (PLC) and speeds up time to market. 2. Complex assembly

In addition to aircraft assembly training, engineers can streamline custom product development in smart plants using AR-powered worker guidance systems. The system combines artificial intelligence and other sensing components with industrial-strength projectors and torque guns to ensure products are built error-free the first time.

In the aviation industry, AR-equipped smart glasses allow technicians to precisely assemble and install commercial aircraft cockpits. The head-mounted kit has a camera that can scan barcodes that technicians use to read information from the booth and view the design layout, which shows markings as “enlarged” on the cab. articles. The marking process allows the technician to confirm the location of the mark and validate it with precise millimeter positioning. 3. Quality assurance

RA plays an integral role in enabling quality control of manufactured or assembled products. The automotive and aerospace industries have already begun to take advantage of AR-equipped glasses and pads to examine the quality of parts shipped by third-party suppliers and the placement of different components on the assembly line.

Worker guidance systems used to assemble components are also used to ensure product quality. The AR-enabled tool combines industrial cameras with high-power projectors to display essential information directly on the work surface. The resulting digital canvas allows technicians to verify and validate the assembly sequence and part manufacturing. Some major OEMs and auto manufacturing companies that have adopted light guide systems instead of traditional work instructions have reported a 90% reduction in errors and a 40-50% reduction in cost. cycle time.

4. Maintenance

Maintenance teams take advantage of AR overlay screens to view machine status, making it easy to spot problems before solving them in person. In one case, an AR headset used technology to guide a technician with line-of-sight instructions. This helped improve their performance in wiring a wind turbine control box by 34%.

A recent innovation in AR-based maintenance software allows technicians to track the position of the overlay so content doesn’t shift when the user moves the tablet. 5. Expert assistance Remote assistance using AR and VR solutions can allow people from different geographies to connect and solve problems together. A technical issue in the United States can be resolved by collaborating with an engineer in China using voice-enabled IoT and VR glasses, reducing travel costs and streamlining the troubleshooting process. Plus, AR with visual and haptic capabilities it can be used to remotely operate tasks through robots in an uninhabitable environment. These teleoperation systems allow engineers to immerse themselves in a VR interface and then control the movements of robots and the welding or assembly of parts on site. 6. Security Remote monitoring of hazardous conditions is done via VR, and maintenance protocols are deployed via AR-powered tablets. This allows engineers to safely enforce safety regulations. A major coal mining company deployed an AR system for maintenance planning for longwall equipment, belt conveyors, and loaders. The system used simulated 3-D images to virtually recreate mining conditions and scenarios such as underground rockfalls. It immerses users in the experience, making it easier to improve performance, health, and safety compliance. In another case, an automaker leveraged virtual manufacturing technology to design a safe and efficient work environment. The immersive VR used, along with 3D printing and full-body motion capture, reduced employee injuries by 70% and ergonomic issues by 90%. 7. Warehouse operations

Smart warehousing has disrupted distribution logistics practices by increasing the accuracy and speed of order fulfillment. Take advantage of AR to label, code and manage shipments more efficiently. As sensors are now priced under $10 per unit and cellular ubiquity is expanding IoT opportunities, the freight handling process has become more systematic, allowing for precise picking and packing. Reports suggest that warehouse workers using AR have improved their picking accuracy by up to 300% and sped up their throughput by 30%.

future visions AR and VR are converging with the Internet of Things (IoT) in Mixed Reality (MR) to provide a more fluid and realistic experience. Research and development is also underway to miniaturize AR, VR, and MR devices, develop power schemes for extended use before the next recharge, and improve component flexibility to enable use in various environments. such as low or high temperatures and under oceans. With 5G mobile networks two years away, organizations can expect to reduce the mobile connectivity costs they incur to massively deploy AR and VR very soon. The 360-degree HD VR experience with HMDs flows at a speed of 80 to 100Mbit/s, which means unprecedented amounts of data are required to run high-speed AR and VR applications over a network. Although devices currently cost up to $3,000, the active innovation ecosystem will help drive down device and technology costs over time, leading to mass adoption.