5 Manufacturing Companies That Have Successfully Adopted Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality is no more a concept for the future. It is happening today, and manufacturers are investing and exploring to unlock its array of new possibilities.
5 min read
When one starts to think about augmented reality, one immediately thinks of video games. But it’s no more limited to just that, immersive technologies have become an important tool for the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers are constantly introducing new technologies to improve training, production process productivity, cost reduction, and upgrade product quality. AR technology promises to improve skill development, productivity and product quality, thus reducing production costs. Finding workers with the requisite qualifications to meet job skills requirements is a challenge that the industry is facing today.
Control engineers, skilled operators, technicians and machinists, are positions that demand the most training and investment. This is the reason why training programs that provide a realistic manufacturing environment, new knowledge practises and innovative methods to improve manufacturing processes are crucial.
Here are 5 companies that have created the coolest applications for the manufacturing space :
1.) Airbus x Microsoft HoloLens
Airbus is a European multinational aerospace corporation, they are pioneers in aerospace technology and leading designers and manufacturers of commercial and military aircraft, satellites, and launch vehicles. The company partnered up with Microsoft HoloLens with a commitment to transform traditional industrial processes.
HoloLens is a holographic computer built into an AR headset that allows you to see, hear and interact with holograms. It provides a completely hands-free experience with gestures, voice, and holographic interaction, rendering new real-time assistance for factory or fieldwork. This helps workers view digital overlays of manuals guides as they repair machines and gives them the ability to collaborate with remote experts.
2.) Boeing x Google Glass
Boeing is an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures and sells aeroplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites and missiles worldwide. They partnered with Google Glass for the wire assembly process of their 787-8 Freighter. Technicians have increased productivity by 40% and reduced wiring production time by 25%. They have used augmented reality to provide workers with instructions for aeroplane wiring schematics in their field of view, allowing them to be hand-free.
3.) Porsche x Tech Live Look
Porsche introduced their “factory of the future” in Leipzig and Zuffenhausen, they call it “Porsche Production 4.0” Their commitment is to continuous improvement with the help of new technologies and methods. They are conducting experiments with Augmented Reality that can work within tablets which workers can use for dimensional accuracy, surface finish, tolerances, interferences and potential issues.
Porsche introduced smart glasses called “Tech Live Look” which let technicians connect remotely with experts who are far away. During the pandemic, the usage of the glasses tripled in the workshops.
Bosch is a German multinational engineering and technology company that created a development platform (CAP) for the automotive industry, that allows device-independent AR applications. The app is fed with data that allows different training scenarios. “In “Trainer Mode”, the trainer controls the devices of the participants and decides which case shall be displayed on their devices. And yet each participant keeps an individual point of view – for instance onto the engine compartment. The whole group of participants and each and every one of them can actively follow and experience the explanations the trainer provides for each training situation. In “Trainee Mode”, the trainer accesses any participant’s device. He can thus provide useful hints and tips and explain the next steps lucidly.” Bosch Media Service.
They are implementing augmented reality in technical service training at its 31 support workshops worldwide. Courses developed at its training centre were offered to 3500 global employees to update them on technical developments in vehicle servicing and repair.
5.) Caterpillar Inc.
Caterpillar Inc. is an American Fortune 100 corporation. The company, which caters to three industries—resource industries (mining), construction, and energy/transportation (power/compulsion systems for marine, oil & gas, turbines and locomotives)
They developed their own AR app which provides the worker with sequential instructions to perform tasks on CAT machines. The worker can take pictures of each step, this will help in learning the procedures faster and avoid any errors. The company has used a mixed reality app to build a tractor that has 6,000 part numbers. A worker on a job site could use a simulation of digging trenches to see if the highway control requirements are violated. The company’s modern technology mission: “To be cheaper, smarter and faster,” said Terri Lewis, digital and technology director at Caterpillar
Gone are the days of traditional training which relies heavily on training methods or materials such as manuals and handbooks. Augmented Reality can provide a training experience that will allow workers to view the workplace or a piece of machinery in real-time with superimposed digital training. They can interact with the environment while learning step-by-step instructions, alerts to mistakes and identification of different parts of the machinery. Effective training is essential to remaining competitive in the global manufacturing marketplace today!