When Google Glass launched in May 2014, some people had difficulty figuring out how this would add value to their lives. Now, in 2017, smart glasses have found a home in manufacturing enterprises and on the shop floor.
Using smart glasses equipped augmented and assisted reality software applications, shop floor workers receive critical information, including complex instructions, reference documents, diagrams, checklists, machine data, images, and videos, right in their line of sight. The availability and accessibility of vital information support greater overall productivity, allowing workers to do their jobs with first-time quality and resolve issues while keeping their hands free.
Here are six ways smart glasses on the shop floor are helping manufacturers:
- Instant visibility into production data
Smart glasses can connect with a manufacturer’s systems of record, like an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Manufacturing Execution System (MES), to provide workers with real-time data, charts, and graphics depicting information essential to production. Machine state, shift state, line yields and even Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) are available in their “field of view.”
- Real-time troubleshooting and error handling
When an issue occurs on the line, operators can instantly connect and communicate with experts not only across the plant, but across the globe. By streaming their first-person view of the situation, shop floor workers can obtain real-time guidance through “see what I see” live video collaboration.
- Digital inspections
If a defect is observed during production, an inspector can use smart glasses to see an overlay of all defects associated with a product, pull up repair guides and videos, take before and after photos, and record the repair’s progress to create an accurate audit trail for quality control purposes.
- Resource utilization
Manufacturers also use smart glasses to better utilize their resources. Managers and workflow automation systems can redirect or alert personnel on the line to prevent bottlenecks and meet peak production levels as well as track important productivity statistics.
- Knowledge capture
Enterprises need a way to quickly upskill both new and existing employees. Experienced employees wear smart glasses as they perform their tasks, recording video, photos and audio detailing the procedure or process. New employees then access this captured knowledge while on the job and forego reading pages of manuals to get up to speed, shortening the learning curve.
- Increased workforce safety
In addition to keeping workers hands-free and nimble, smart glasses can enhance a manufacturer’s safety culture. Through smart glasses, plant floor workers can view the various required gear, as well as the appropriate safety processes they must take.
>> Read more by Brian Ballard, Manufacturing Business Technology, 1/24/17