Augmented Reality Work Instructions: Understanding Benefits, Features, Use Cases
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In the heart of modern-day industry, precision and efficiency reign supreme. Businesses do their best to nail the competition by introducing ingenious technologies into their workflow. The use of AI, ML, IoT, and many others has made the competition cut-throat. One of the technologies that has played a paradigm-shifting role in the success of businesses is AR.
AR or Augmented Reality is a technology adopted by almost every major industry sector today. There are several applications of AR that have led its market to race at a CAGR of 50.7% till 2030. As per reports, the market size of AR will be $1.1 trillion by 2030.
Among the countless applications of augmented reality, its use as AR work instructions is a unique one. Unlike traditional paper-based instructions, the use of 3D Augmented Reality work instructions can provide a plethora of benefits to the respective business. This blog will uncover everything you need to know about Augmented Reality Work Instructions.
What is an Augmented Reality Work Instruction?
In the traditional work instruction regime, workers used paper-based instructions. In contrast, AR work instructions employ the use of modern-day software packed with AR capabilities.
Augmented reality work instruction enhance real-world tasks through the integrations of 3D models, images, and documents, all seamlessly contextualized within the existing environment by using AR technology. It eliminates human error by providing step-by-step guidance, highlighting key components, and offering real-time data, improving efficiency, accuracy, and learning experiences in various industries, from manufacturing to maintenance.
With AR, you can imagine your paper instructions in front of you as a projection. A computer-simulated AR projection overlaid on the real-life environment. AR work instructions allow you to see text, pictures, and 3D models on the screen seamlessly blended with the real-life environment.
How AR Augmented Reality Work Instructions Work?
Augmented Reality (AR) work instructions use technology to overlay digital information onto the physical world, enhancing the way people perform tasks. Here’s how they work in points:
Sensors and Cameras: AR devices, such as smartphones or smart glasses, are equipped with sensors (e.g., GPS, accelerometers) and cameras to capture the real-world environment.
Digital Overlay: With AR powered work instructions, relevant digital information such as text, images, videos, or 3D models is superimposed onto the real-world view using the device’s display.
Real-Time Interaction: Users can interact with the AR elements, often through touch, gestures, or voice commands, to access additional details or instructions.
Spatial Mapping: AR devices create a spatial map of the environment, allowing virtual elements to stay anchored in the real world as users move.
Work Instructions: AR work instructions guide users step-by-step through processes, providing visual cues and information directly on the objects they are working with.
Data Integration: AR systems can pull in data from various sources, such as databases, IoT devices, or live feeds, to provide dynamic and context-aware information.
Attached below is an overview video that demonstrates working of Augmented Reality Work Instructions:
AR work instructions can be used with a handheld device like a phone or tablet or via a wearable device like smart glasses. Packed with context-sensitive visual guidance and information, AR work instructions can help businesses improve the efficiency and safety of their workers.
Here is an example! A worker using AR glasses or their mobile device to see instructions and other crucial annotations superimposed on the components they are working on. This ability of AR work instructions allows workers to identify each part of the machine easily. Further, they can also understand its working easily.
What are Some Features of Augmented Reality Work Instructions
Here are some features of augmented reality work instructions!
Hands-free interactions: With the use of AR work instructions, workers or field agents can handle their work with both hands. However, this is only possible if they are using AR glasses.
3-D Visualization: An AR Work Instructions software is incomplete without 3-D visualization technology. 3D visualization helps in creating and displaying three-dimensional representations of objects, spaces, or data for a more immersive and realistic understanding.
Collaboration: One of the best features of AR work instructions is remote collaboration. While using AR work instructions, the tools allow you to collaborate with experts via video conferencing. You can seek assistance from experts, and they can help you with it by adding annotations.
Real-time guidance: When you are using AR work instructions, all the machine or device details, like images, videos, etc., are automatically superimposed on the machine. Therefore allowing you to handle complex processes easily. Further, all the information displayed on the screen is context-sensitive.
Based on the definition and features, it is easy to anticipate that AR work instructions would have several advantages. Let’s take a look at them!
Enhanced Skill Development
As the hassle of handling pages in AR work instructions is zero, the convenience of handling tasks is high. With the ease of handling tasks, you can enhance the skills of your workforce faster. You can let your new and old employees use AR glasses or mobile phones to handle tasks.
As they will be learning by doing, it will be easier and faster for them to get used to them. As per stats, using AR-guided work instructions, an aerospace and defense company in the UK trained their workers 30-40% more efficiently.
Airbus is another example of the same.
This feature of AR work instructions has proven to be the savour of time and hassle. With AR work instructions, remote technicians or on-floor staff can connect to an expert for support.
All they have to do is point the capturing device, like the phone or AR glasses, towards the machine, and the expert will see the same view as the technician. Experts can add annotations and other visual cues to help technicians fix the issue.
This not only saves time but also eliminates several operational challenges. A perfect example of this is Xerox. The document management and business solutions provider employed AR to connect field engineers with experts easily. The results of this move were marvelous.
There are many industries where the repair process is not easy. Technicians may have to deal with heavy and dangerous machinery. Therefore, while repairing, there are chances of mishap.
With AR work instructions, the chances of injuries can be significantly reduced. First, the technicians can scan the heavy machinery from a distance. Besides, the repair procedures are designed with warnings and safety instructions.
One critical factor distinguishing AR work instructions from paper-based instructions is the visual cues. Paper-based manuals and guides also have visuals but are only limited to 2D images.
As AR work instructions are in digital form, the type of visual cues goes beyond 2D images. Technicians can better analyze the machine with the help of 3D images visualization, holograms, and digital twins. These visual cues, coupled with audio and on-screen annotations, make it super easy for the technician to handle the task at hand.
Volkswagen is the best example of AR visual cues. Volkswagen uses a 3D CAD design of the part and superimposes it into the view of the physical prototype to assess its quality.
Faster Knowledge Transfer
Augmented reality work instructions are in digital form and can be hosted on a server online. As multiple users can collaborate on them, transferring knowledge to workers becomes easy.
The experts on the factory floor can add all the necessary information about operating a machine in the online work instructions document. This allows the trainees and other technicians to refer to it at any time.
Moreover, as all the updates are also updated in the document along with audio and visual aids, there is no need for repeated expert assistance and supervision.
The last on the list of advantages of Augmented Reality work instructions is its hands-free use. With the use of smart AR glasses for referring to AR instructions, you don’t have to use your hands. You can just put on the glasses and begin operating on the machine while instructions are presented on the screen.
In contrast to this, the use of a mobile device will make you use your hands.
What are Some Challenges to AR Work Instructions?
Though the concept of AR Augmented Reality work instructions is lucrative, it comes with following challenges:
The use of AR work instructions in your organization would require powerful equipment and software. As they all are modern-day devices and firmware, you would require a professional IT expert to take care of their functionality and updates. As the technology is not that widespread in the business, finding a suitable professional can pose a challenge.
As AR work instructions are digital, you will require an online server to host them, which may attract cyberattacks. Your work instructions will have a lot of sensitive data, so it should not go into the wrong hands.
Simply put, data security will be your prime challenge in this pursuit. And as cyberthieves can find loopholes pretty quickly, it will be an eternal challenge.
Cost is one of the chief challenges to AR work instructions. Any AR app can cost you thousands to over a hundred thousand dollars based on the app’s features. As investment is pretty high, around 77% of the retailers are reluctant to invest in it.
AR is a relatively new technology for those who have just operated legacy machinery. Therefore, it will be tough for you to convince them to switch. Moreover, it will be tougher for you to train the employees to use it in the first place.
What are Use Cases of AR Powered Work Instructions?
There are some great use cases of AR work instructions!
Boeing leverages the power of AR to assist its technicians in laying down wires in the plane. Compared to the previous approach, where technicians had to make a mental model of the wires in a plane, AR allows them to see how the wires are laid in the plane. Technicians are provided with real-time, hands-free, interactive 3D wiring diagrams.
With the use of AR, Boeing cut the production time of the wires by 25%.
To reduce the mechanics’ frequent checking of the maintenance manual, GE Aviation used AR. Mechanics at GE repeatedly referred to the maintenance manual to ensure properly tightened and torqued B-nuts.
GE Aviation used Augmented Reality, software, and smart glasses to solve this issue. Out of the 15 mechanics in the pilot program, 60% favored the use of AR in the work process. Besides, 85% said that AR will reduce errors.
If we look into the future of AR work instructions, the technology has remarkable potential. Here is how!
Mixed reality: AR can be used in collaboration with VR for more intuitive work and altering virtual objects.
Haptic feedback: AR work instruction tools can provide a tactile sensation to the users with the help of haptic feedback. It can allow the users to stay aware of the situation besides better interacting with digital objects.
AI with AR: The use of AR and AI can provide added functionality to the concept. AI can analyze data and find usage patterns that can further aid in better decision-making.
How Augmented Reality Work Instructions Can Help Training Frontline Workers?
Plutomen is a frontline operational platform, which enhances frontline knowledge and skills with AR remote assistance, work instructions, and immersive training.
Plutomen’s AR work instructions revolutionize operator training and knowledge transfer. Operators effortlessly streamline their tasks by bringing parts to the workstation, scanning barcodes, and instantly accessing their customized work instructions.
The AR instructions, known for their user-friendliness, make complex tasks intuitive. If an operator encounters assembly challenges, they can effortlessly project step-by-step work instructions onto their smartglasses. Furthermore, our cutting-edge software empowers operators to make real-time adjustments, such as pushing quality alerts to their colleagues.
Augmented reality not only simplifies work instruction creation but also boosts frontline employee productivity. Plutomen’s AR tools pave the way for a more productive and efficient factory of the future, where knowledge transfer becomes seamless.
Therefore, if you plan to use an AR work instruction tool in your business workflow, Plutomen Workflow is ideal. It can help you boost worker safety, speed up repairs, and decrease service costs.
Chirag brings with him 15+ Years of experience in Digital Transformation, and IT Leadership. At Plutomen, he holds deep experience in business with a track record of customer-centric approaches helping them build business transformation.
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