Augmented reality enables manufacturing professionals to receive sophisticated instruction, detailed direction, and organized mechanisms that ensure appropriate pacing and sequencing. The right materials. The right tools. The right steps–completed the right way and in the right sequence. The right augmented reality platform is like having an interactive and adaptive guide walking you through every step of the process–and checking your work as you go.
In addition to streamlining and error-proofing processes, augmented reality technology can improve manufacturing outcomes by generating digital “birth certificates” and detailed process data for each part built. This level of sophisticated metrics and tracking helps to identify bottlenecks and other challenges, makes it possible to immediately identify the source of a problem, and generates the kind of detailed and constructive feedback that helps make workers more productive.
Other benefits of augmented reality systems include:
- The ability to leverage and integrate specialized tools and equipment like programmable machine vision cameras and torque guns. This makes augmented reality solutions an ideal fit for processes that demand extreme precision and come with extraordinarily tight tolerances.
- Fully programmable functionality that allows manufacturers to toggle between different processes by simply pushing a button or scanning a bar code.
- The capacity to be utilized as a mechanism for detailed inspection, training, part kitting and logistics support.
- Can accentuate or even replace traditional quality control and inspections processes–something that can potentially save enormous amounts of money and logistical headaches.
For the manufacturing industry, augmented reality has a special appeal: it improves the work and efficiency of manufacturing professionals, it does not replace them. At a time when there are justified employment concerns throughout the industry about the implications of more automation, augmented reality is a welcome middle ground. It is far from a compromise, however. The growing popularity of augmented reality is ultimately based on something very simple: it works. Some automotive manufacturers that have integrated augmented reality platforms into their operation have achieved eye-opening results, including a dramatic 80-90 percent reduction in errors, a cycle time that was essentially cut in half, and a bottom-line boost in throughput of around 95 percent.
Regardless of the manufacturing environment, those are remarkable numbers. And when you consider the degree to which the most powerful augmented reality solutions help to mitigate risk, reduce cost and complexity, enhance customization and improve efficiency, it is unsurprising that more manufacturing professionals are seeing their everyday reality “augmented” by promising new tools and technologies.
>>Originally posted by Paul Ryznar of OPS Solutions in Manufacturing Business Technology, November 2016