The Boundless Applications of AR in Manufacturing

Being reduced their aircraft manufacturing time by over 25% and lowered error rates to nearly 0% by equipping their production lines with AR-based technology!

Augmented Reality (AR) is increasingly becoming a technology to reckon with in several industries and sectors, more so in the manufacturing sector. Every stage of the production or manufacturing process, beginning from research and product development to end-of-life management, is reaping the benefits of a melange of AR offerings that bolster the manufacturing process.

Why AR in Manufacturing?

‘If you want to see your product in the environment it will be used in, AR can do that for you faster, and less expensively than building a prototype’ – Matt Huybrecht.

Hard-ware based products are increasingly being manufactured through cutting-edge technological processes that leave little to no room for error. Organisations across the globe need to ensure that quality is preserved to stay ahead, or at least on par with the competition.

AR bridges the gaps in technology that can potentially lead to errors, and results in quality production, optimised planning, quicker turnaround, lesser wastage, and a host of other tangible and intangible benefits. Augray has enabled hundreds of organisations to enhance and improve their end-to-end manufacturing processes by enabling AR-based technologies. Here is a sneak peek into what AR can do for your business.

Visualisation and Prototyping

creating multiple prototypes for the purpose of visualisation and functionality testing of often expensive, labour intensive, and time consuming. AR makes this process of visualisation extremely efficient with respect to economics and labour. By creating a digital twin or a virtual model, engineers, designers, and product developers can visualise the product without having to build a physical prototype. This considerably reduces the time spent in design and development and subsequently shortens the time the product takes to reach the market.

With the power of AR, products can be translated from the drawing board to visual and even physical prototypes (through rapid prototyping or 3D printing) within days or weeks instead of months.

Complex Assembly

Every large machine requires hundred if not thousands of parts to be assembled with utmost accuracy and precision. In the case of aircraft, ships, large automobiles, and power generation machinery, tens of thousands of components need to be assembled, and the wafter thin error margin literally leaves no room for errors. In such a scenario, manual assembly and inspection would require the expertise of multiple technicians to ensure that precision. However, when the process is enabled with AR, the makes the process of assembly skill agnostic and ensures that all components are fitted in accordance with requirements and norms.

For instance, aircraft companies and automotive manufacturers now use AR-enabled goggles to ensure that seats are fitted in the right place. When these devices are used, an alarm is raised even if the technician deviates the positioning by a millimetre. This ensures that the technician does not waste time in refitting seats by ensuring that they are assembled the correct way at the first instance.

Supply Chain and Logistics

Small and medium scale establishments that do not have a separate division for procurement and stock-taking more often than not find themselves in a soup when they require a particular component but find it short in supply. On the other hand, in the case of fast-moving goods, organisations often find they have ingredients or perishable components in excess and stand to lose if these constituents are not processed at the right time.

AR-enabled organisations can simulate the process and predict machine failure, downtime, and shortage of demand. This enables the organisation to plan the supply chain, enabling the organisation to optimise machine run time, minimise wastage, reduce manufacturing lead time and most importantly, achieve shorter sales processes.

Product Life Cycle Management

The entire product life cycle can be simulated using AR. Multiple-use cases can be modelled to test the efficacy and life of the product, enabling organisations to play the end-of-life of the product even before the product actually hits the market. Additionally, with the combination of AR and 3D printing, organisations need not even produce spare parts for retired products in the long run. Users can purchase, retrospectively modify, or even reverse engineer parts to suit their needs long after an organisation has stopped producing a product.

This opens up a new space in which organisations can monetise their offerings while simultaneously catering to the needs of the customers.

AR in every step of Manufacturing

The novel, cutting edge AR-based technologies are undoubtedly changing the face of modern era manufacturing by making processes swifter, more sustainable and efficient. Augray has borne witness to this paradigm change in Industry 4.0.

The possibilities that AR offers in enhancing Manufacturing is immense and boundless. Necessity, the mother of invention, has made it mandatory for organisations to embrace this change of offer the best value for themselves and all their stakeholders.

Virtual reality is showing some effective industry use-cases as well, from real estate applications to tourism. On a recent trip to Israel, I witnessed the Jerusalem Visitor’s Bureau using VR to immerse tourists in how the city looked 5,000 years ago. These types of innovative VR experiences are unveiling in industries worldwide.

Although augmented reality technology is less mature than virtual reality due to the limitations of AR technology, lack of standardization and a higher price tag, it is already being utilized in industries including manufacturing, healthcare and logistics. Augmented reality experiences are typically delivered through headsets, such as Meta, ODG, Vuzix and HoloLens, and are showing early signs that the technology is set to transform commercial and industrial markets. However, there is still work to be done before these technologies can reach mainstream adoption.

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