Augmented Reality: Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Augmented reality (AR) is creating a lot of excitement throughout the manufacturing industry. The potential to drastically increase the quality of training, cut training costs, as well as a plethora of other advantages the technology provides proves that AR could be an extremely beneficial technology. We will be discussing the benefits of AR and how manufacturers are already using this incredible technology to boost their own business.

The way AR works is by using some kind of digital display, wearable or mobile, that will imprint computer-generated visuals over a users view of the real world. This compound view of reality allows manufacturers to provide step by step assistance without having to guide the individual themselves, freeing up more of the workforce. Even if an experienced manufacturer needs assistance with a task, they can turn to an AR system to provide instruction or asses a situation without the trouble of finding a manual or visiting a task board.

Manufacturers stand to save big by utilizing augmented reality in a few different ways. Welding students in South Africa are able to receive quality training while cutting costs substantially. The Gauteng Automotive Learning Center in Rosslyn, Pretoria purchased eight new Soldamatic welding simulators for their students which provide 93 different simulated welding lessons.

These simulators allow the students to practice while cutting the cost of consumables, no need for welding rods, steel plates, oxygen, or any protective clothing. This allows training to be extremely cost efficient while still maintaining a high standard of education. Manufacturers can implement this kind of AR technology to focus on their own training needs and dramatically increase the efficiency of their training programs.

Manufacturers that begin working with AR for training purposes will see a dramatic reduction in cost associated with training a new employee. Furthermore, the training provided will ensure they are comfortable with the tasks they will be faced with on the production line. Another added bonus of AR is the fact that a skilled employee that would normally conduct the training, doesn’t need to be taken off the shop floor, keeping things running smooth.

A boost in efficiency will be the largest benefit manufacturers will see from this emerging technology. If a system breaks down and no qualified technician is on site, any employee can put on their AR headset and be guided through the maintenance procedure for that particular piece of equipment. The time a manufacturer can save will be well worth the investment.

Businesses are always looking for new ways to increase their ability to train employees without having it disrupt day-to-day operations, and augmented reality is a great solution to this problem. Even going beyond training, AR offers a way to enhance the abilities of every employee on the shop floor. Manufacturers are extremely excited over the prospect of AR making it into their facilities, but as of now, the cost is still high for these devices and services. As the ROI and efficiency of these systems continue to prove their worth, it will be only be a matter of time before AR is common in nearly every manufacturing operation out there.

Sources:

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/aidc-to-use-new-augmented-reality-welding-simulators-2016-02-11

http://www.information-age.com/technology/applications-and-development/123460817/augmented-reality-and-wearable-tech-marriage-made-enterprise