The Evolution of Augmented Reality in Maintenance

Keyur Bhalavat
Keyur Bhalavat Author By

Maintenance and repair are at the heart of every industry 4.0 because they affect productivity and overall performance. Many advancements in maintenance and repair have made the process more accessible, and I must say that augmented reality in maintenance and repair is the most advanced innovation so far.

In the industrial sector, maintenance is critical. Maintenance is an area that is constantly being improved and perfected over time because it has a direct influence on equipment performance, productivity, and product quality (not to mention profit and reputation). And, rest assured, augmented reality technology is the most recent innovation in maintenance.

 Augmented reality allows users to augment their field of view with real-time superimposed digital information. It is a valuable solution to many of the problems associated with industrial maintenance, repair, and operations.

Augmented Reality in Maintenance & Repair

Maintenance and repair work entails a plethora of manuals and procedures to be followed to complete a single task. This eventually shifts the technician’s focus to manuals to complete their job correctly. Similarly, technicians must wait for an extended period to contact experts when faced with critical tasks. All of this lowers their performance and makes their job difficult. At the same time, businesses experience downtime and high operational costs.

The primary use of AR in maintenance and repair is to assist technicians and make their jobs easier. Augmented reality in maintenance and repair can improve it in various fascinating ways. The ability of AR to combine real and virtual worlds, interact with both worlds in real-time, and detect 3D objects can simplify maintenance and repair workflows.

We understand that technicians are constantly under pressure because any interruption in the manufacturing process or any errors in the repair process can result in malfunctions or breakdowns that disrupt the operation of the business. Furthermore, augmented reality-based remote support in maintenance and repair provides technicians with the information they need to complete their work more accurately in real-time and anywhere.

Favorable Training Environment

Augmented reality (AR) is quickly becoming a critical technology for avoiding these losses and meeting the challenges posed by unprecedented circumstances and longer-term trends. The technology has the advantage of being familiar to many of the current workforce. Basic augmented reality (AR) technology, which uses smartphone cameras and displays to superimpose graphics and information on the real world, has been widely used in games such as Pokémon GO, downloaded over 1 billion times. When combined with smart glasses and wearable computers, AR is a powerful industrial maintenance technology. AR-based remote assistance and object detection software can make the life of a technician a little easier. It can be easily integrated into various form factors, ranging from smartphones to AR wearables, and it assists technicians at every stage of their work. AR wearables allow technicians to work hands-free without sacrificing performance. Let’s take a closer look.

Maintenance

A typical assessment check by a field technician may take a long time on manuals, but AR-based Remote assistance enables technicians to identify problems at a glance. They can quickly look up common issues that usually appear during routine checks or compare photos of a perfectly working system to the one they are currently using. In addition, the entire maintenance check routine can be added to Remote assistance software to streamline the functions.

In-Car Service workshops, Bosch employs an augmented reality application. The AR app includes navigation arrows that point to locations of automobile components that aren’t easily visible and on-screen instructions for auto technicians on what actions to take or tools to use. According to the company, their auto technicians now spend 15% less time on each step of MRO activities than they did before AR.

 

Troubleshooting and Repairs

Following the initial diagnosis of the problem, the technician can immediately begin the troubleshooting and repair process, rather than waiting for experts to arrive or searching for repair steps in manuals. AR Based remote assistance provides instant access to all information needed to resolve the issue.

It captures 3D object detection to compare the camera feed to the images in the database, automatically pulls out the right one associated with the equipment, and displays video instructions, images, or texts to resolve the issue. It aids in the faster identification of problems with complex types of machinery and displays clear-cut digital instructions for resolving the issue. This way, a technician can troubleshoot any problems that may arise independently. This reduces downtime, operational costs, and the likelihood of errors occurring.

Boeing employs AR to repair and maintain the electrical wiring in their aircraft. Previously, technicians relied on a 20-foot-long, incoherent 2D drawing as a reference, but now rely on an AR app that augments the view of the real aircraft with a dynamic 3D model diagram of the wiring. The innovative solution resulted in a 30% reduction in time spent on MRO activities and a 90% improvement in the quality of work performed by new technicians.

 

Remote Expert Help

Technicians can use video, audio, and chat to connect with experts in any geographical location and receive remote visual assistance anytime. The technician or expert can freeze the screen to get a better look and record the entire session for future reference. If similar problems arise in the future, the new technicians will not need to contact the expert again and will be able to solve the problem independently.

In Addition, AR assists existing maintenance staff by providing hands-free access to contextual information, guidance, advice, and tutorials on-demand and in the field. As a result, they work with greater assurance, accuracy, and speed. It will enable a new generation of maintenance workers to learn while working and work while learning. It also allows businesses to send trainees into the field safely and confidently, knowing they will receive necessary instruction and guidance.

AR is not only a tool for gaining access to guidance and expertise but also an excellent tool for capturing it. Experienced workers who use such headsets can capture and catalog tasks as they complete them on their rounds, documenting their steps to achieve them successfully.

This data provides AR users in the field with critical contextual and diagnostic information, which can reduce safety risks, prevent errors, and speed up repair times. However, these technologies have far greater potential.

 

AR’s Advantages in Maintenance and Repair

Maintenance and repair have reaped the benefits of augmented reality. We conducted our research and discovered that companies found a 50% reduction in downtime, a 30-50% reduction in time taken to resolve an issue, a 30% reduction in operational expenditure, and the ability to operate with a 25% less workforce after implementing augmented reality in maintenance.

 

Closing Thoughts:

Maintenance and repair are two areas where augmented reality can significantly impact and bring many improvements, which is why it’s so important in Industry 4.0. So let us wait and see how industries grow and thrive with AR in the future

When companies realize the full potential of technology, maintenance workers will arrive on-site with the necessary knowledge, tools, and support to complete the job quickly and efficiently. But, perhaps, more importantly, they will be working in the right place and at the right time to significantly impact the operation’s performance.

With 8+ years of experience servicing and consulting clients in AR, Plutomen provides enterprise AR solutions for Manufacturing, Telecom, IT Infrastructure, Automotive, etc. We have served the leading industry players like Wipro Limited, Adani, Sterlite Tech, L&T, PwC, Virtusa, Honeywell, Arvind Envisol, etc. Book a demo of our AR products today!

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