Pros (and Cons) of Augmented Reality in manufacturing
There are a great many benefits of augmented reality in the industrial sector, as demonstrated by the growing interest companies are showing in this technology. As companies face a complex transformation process towards industry 4.0, awareness of the potential role that innovation can play in the industry has increased significantly.
Augmented reality technologies can be used in a variety of fields and applications, including daily manufacturing operations, maintenance in the field and working remotely via wearable remote AR communication devices. The operator is empowered by having real-time access on his viewer to all company documentation (videos, manuals, etc.), acting with greater autonomy. The list below details five benefits of augmented reality that make taking advantage of AR solutions in an industrial setting appealing.
Five benefits of augmented reality in manufacturing
Augmented reality is a technology that connects the digital and real worlds, an improved version of reality that is changing the industrial sector. AR interfaces can enrich the work environment and optimise operational efficiency while providing significant benefits in terms of safety, efficiency and productivity.
1. Improving the quality of production processes
Augmented reality solutions allow for the improvement of production process quality by accelerating productivity safely, reducing errors, and guaranteeing greater compliance with company standards. This technology is particularly useful for checks and inspections, two key processes when it comes to ensuring the highest possible product quality.
Hybrid smartphone/headset applications, for example, make it possible to carry out checks and inspections in difficult and complex settings, with the support of experts who are connected remotely to assist technicians in the field. Remote collaboration helps streamline and simplify inspections and accurately identify errors, with the option to store any information gathered to be used as a basis for analysis and training.
2. Reducing production and service costs in the field
The many benefits of AR technologies include a reduction in costs in various sectors and application contexts. This is made possible through direct intervention in optimising costs, whether as a result of increased productivity or improvements in process quality. Augmented reality makes it possible to reduce design, production, and maintenance costs.
For example, using augmented reality to maintain machinery allows problems to be solved faster and more efficiently, reducing the time taken to search for and identify malfunctions, as well as the length of time for repairs. At the same time, with AR systems, it is also possible to minimise interruptions in production by increasing industrial productivity. Thanks to augmented reality, the technician can perform more efficient and faster troubleshooting. Whether the intervention of a specialized technician is needed, this can be done remotely in real-time, with the added advantage of reducing travel costs.
3. Refining training and skills sharing
One of the benefits of augmented reality for business is the improvement it can bring to training, a fundamental activity for any company. AR solutions can be exploited to improve the skills of the workforce, with staff able to receive precise and specific instructions on the work required remotely, a type of training that can be performed both individually or as a group.
Remote guidance by experts can, in fact, provide benefits to the entire field team and make it easy for employees to learn complex concepts through the use of visual representations. The use of augmented reality for training is a scalable and versatile solution, which can improve staff skills at any level of experience.
4. Improve industrial safety standards
Augmented reality makes it possible to improve safety in a number of areas linked to the industrial sector. First and foremost, operators can protect themselves from handling risks by interacting with the production environment more safely. It is also possible to take advantage of physical and organisational benefits thanks to the improved ergonomics of employees working with AR solutions.
Instructions provided by remote experts, for example, can avoid the need for operators to carry out dangerous work, lead to fewer mistakes, and result in a reduction in the risk of accidents and injury rates. In this way, augmented reality applications not only make the working environment safer but also improve the quality of the work and bring economic benefits to the company in terms of productivity and cost savings.
5. Optimising the product assembly process
Another benefit of augmented reality technologies is the optimisation of product assembly. This type of work requires operators to be particularly meticulous, which can be challenging when hundreds of parts need to be assembled quickly and correctly following instructions in the technical document.
The use of AR allows this process to be made more interactive and simpler, making assembly information clear and supplied to the operator through an AR headset. This solution allows the employee to focus on assembling the product, saving time and doing away with the need for them to concentrate on reading the instructions in a long and complex file of the text.