What Should be Your Strategy for Quick Industrial AR Adaptation in 2022?

Keyur Bhalavat
Keyur Bhalavat Author By

While the world is familiar with augmented reality applications in Snapchat filters and Pokémon Go, it has far more significant applications in business-to-business and industrial settings. Prominent companies such as General Electric, Boeing, Volvo, Toyota, Xerox, and more are leveraging AR to gain quality and efficiency in their industrial processes.

For instance, Boeing uses AR technology’s superimposed images to show trainees how to assemble an aircraft wing. It cut their time to finish the task by 35%. AR is bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, becoming an interface between humans and machines.

So if you are planning to embed AR into your industrial operations, this article is for you. First, it discusses AR’s critical capabilities to help you understand its potential applications for your industrial enterprise. And then, it will walk you through the process of building an efficient strategy to adapt industrial AR today.

Understanding Augmented Reality’s Key Capabilities

  • Visualize

Humans access information through five senses, an estimated 80-90% of which is accessed through vision. And augmented reality apps provide a 3D, X-ray vision of internal components of a machine that are otherwise difficult to see.

For example, Bosch Rexroth (an engineering company catering to manufacturers globally) uses AR-amplified visualization to demonstrate the design and capabilities of its intelligent hydraulic power units. As a result, customers can see 3D representations of the internal pump, cooling options in multiple configurations, and how subsystems fit together.

  • Instruct and Guide

AR technology is redefining instruction, training, and guidance for workers in industrial plants. For example, written instructions are time-consuming and hard to follow. Moreover, standard instructional videos do not provide learning in a real-world context.

AR addresses these issues with step-by-step, real-time, and on-site visual guidance. It can deliver interactive 3D holograms of procedures with little left to imagination or misinterpretation. At Boeing, AR technology’s superimposed images show trainees how to assemble an aircraft wing, cutting their time to finish the task by 35%.

  • Troubleshoot & Repair

Troubleshooting and repair also comprise augmented reality examples in the manufacturing industry. AR delivers complex information to factory workers in just the right form when they need it to troubleshoot errors and make repairs.

For instance, Xerox replaced service manuals and telephone support with AR to connect field engineers to experts. It increased first-time fix rates by 67%. And now, Xerox uses AR to connect remote experts directly to its customers for problem resolution.

Strategy for Quick Industrial AR Adaptation in 2022

1. Understand Industrial Automation & How Can It Help Your Factory

Given the buzz around AR, bringing in an AR solution is exciting. But it is crucial to determine what it can do for your enterprise before deploying an AR strategy.

You can start with defining the frequent operational or MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul) challenges you face. It can include:

  • costly unplanned downtimes
  • manufacturing reworks
  • human errors
  • the increasing complexity of equipment
  • Industrial skills gap and more

Augmented Reality projects are perfectly positioned to address these industrial challenges. AR-based digital work instructions show the factory workers precisely what to do, on what controls, in what sequence, and so on. It reduces potential errors, manufacturing reworks, and unplanned downtimes. Moreover, it enables workers to understand complex aspects, reducing the skills gap quickly.

2. Remote Collaboration & Assistance

Augmented reality technology also addresses pain associated with the below metrics in a manufacturing enterprise with remote collaboration and assistance.

  • Quality (cannot hire or retain top talents, customer complaints on poor service, onboarding or cross-training workers in a hybrid model, etc.)
  • Time (time to train new hires, new hires relying too much on fully trained employees, etc.)
  • Cost (cost of travel for on-site training or assistance, downtime due to delayed expert assistance, etc.)

With AR-based remote collaboration tools, such as Plutomen, field or frontline workers can instantly connect with a subject-matter expert anywhere. The expert can see what the operative is looking at and provide remote assistance quickly to resolve an issue. He can make AR annotations, draw, highlight, tag, and do much more instead of instructing verbally.

3. Focus on User Experience

AR can revolutionize product development, manufacturing, marketing, and after-sales service to improve performance across the value chain. But for your factory workers, it takes user experience to a whole new level.

For instance, workers wearing smart glasses can walk a line of factory machines, check their performance parameters, optimize, etc., without physically touching them. A virtual panel can be superimposed on the equipment and operated using AR headsets, voice commands, and hand gestures.

4. Be A Part of Industry 4.0 – Adapt Industrial AR

The fourth industrial revolution aims to digitize manufacturing extensively with automation, smart machines, smart factories, and informed data. Furthermore, it encourages the integration of technologies, including IoT, AI, AR, VR, voice commands, and more, to achieve a new level of efficiency.

Thus, if you were to beat the competition in Industry 4.0, embracing industrial AR can prove highly cost-efficient and effective. For instance, at GE, factory workers performed complex wiring processes in wind turbines with the help of voice commands in AR experiences. As a result, it increased productivity by 34%.

AR in Industrial Use Case

Industrial manufacturing is a significant use case for augmented reality technology. For instance, engineers and technicians can now pull up AR-based step-by-step instructions to accurately perform a task. Then, if stuck with a problem, they can instantly connect with an expert halfway across the world through AR-based remote collaboration tools.

When paired with wearables, AR enables frontline engineers on the plant floor to troubleshoot promptly and adhere to predictive maintenance and other standards. The hands-free nature of AR smart glasses is particularly favorable for hands-busy tasks such as assembly, repair, and maintenance.

As one of the key technologies for Industry 4.0, AR is also helping industrial enterprises upskill their workforce with more effective, immersive, and interactive training and guidance materials. Thus, organizations worldwide are quickly becoming smarter, faster, and leaner, aided by AR.

Key takeaways

The future of augmented reality looks even brighter since its innovation delivers real-world business benefits. Due to the use cases, we have discussed above; AR allows frontline workers to do things more quickly and accurately.

However, even the best AR strategies cannot be implemented immediately and solve enterprise-wide problems overnight. Therefore, it is ideal to start a small AR deployment focusing on one identified problem before implementing it on a larger scale. And that is why we have a few months of pilot program for your successful AR adaptation.

Plutomen offers AR-enabled tools to empower your workers with interactive remote assistance from experts, digitized SOPs, and manuals developed by experts. So if you are wondering how AR can optimize your industrial operations, book a demo with us today!

FAQs

Here are a few essential questions that you as a company might face:

Q1. Where will AR have a substantial impact on cost reduction?

AR significantly reduces the cost of training, travel expenses of an expert to a site, and the cost of hiring new employees frequently due to increased retention. Moreover, it helps avoid costly downtimes and repeated fixtures and addresses other inefficiencies in manufacturing.

Q2. Should a company make AR design and deployment a core strength, or is outsourcing or partnering sufficient?

Thanks to a booming market for AR-based products, companies do not need to scramble to acquire AR talents for in-house development. You can simply partner with best-of-breed AR specialty platform, such as Plutomen for one, to leverage AR technology.

Q3. What hardware is required to implement AR?

AR collaboration and assist tools today are designed with simplicity. They can run on multiple devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Moreover, cloud-based software requires zero to minimal installation and maintenance efforts. Most AR interfaces also require wearables, such as head-mounted glasses, for a hands-free experience.

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