How Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality fit into Industry 4.0

The many use of AR & VR in Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 indicates the transformation and the rise of new industrial digital technology , which makes gathering and analyzing the data across various machines possible, resulting in faster, flexible, and more efficient processes. This revolution has increased productivity and fostered industrial growth that changes the competitiveness of companies and regions.

Source : elinext

We are now in the Information Age. More data has been created in the last three years than ever been created before. It is not about the amount of data created, but it is about how it improves the decision making. This is when smart connections are relevant. The information needs to be collected at the right time, at the right point and showcased in the right context. Machines and people are always connected in the era of industry 4.0 , hence, enhancing the industrial processes. This revolution doesn’t depend on one technology, but several technologies. Among these technologies is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Let us see how these technologies impact the revolution of Industry 4.0.

Source : Theorem Solutions

Augmented Reality in Industry 4.0

Augmented Reality (AR) identifies the set of technologies which allows viewing the real world environment in an augmented or enhanced way through computer-generated graphics. This visual aspect in the physical environment is enhanced by using various devices. Augmented reality has varied applications, but manufacturing is one domain which can be most attractive for the world of augmented reality.

Concerned with various processes to transform raw materials in the finished goods by adding value to it, Augmented reality can be a real game changer. This is because real-time information is needed at the various stages of product life cycle. From design to prototyping, to production and assembly, maintenance, each stage has its own sets of challenges. Augmented reality can be a boon in these complex processes as it is capable to simulate, assist, and improve the processes even before they are carried out. A lot of manufacturing unit is now open to this idea of utilizing Augmented Reality and simulate the processes and reduce the downtime and streamline the operations.

Uses of Augmented Reality Applications in Industry 4.0
  1. Complex Assembly:
    Modern manufacturing involves assembly hundreds of complex components in short-time with precision. Augmented Reality can help in these complex assemblies. The work documents are generally in PDF format, which is difficult to get by. Augmented Reality can help to make them alive in the video. They are made glanceable in the field of view, hands-free and voice-controlled. The instructions are broken down and the video can be added. All this can be seen through AR glasses while workers keep the hands on the task.
  2. Maintenance:
    After the assembly, maintenance is another aspect where Augmented Reality can play a crucial role. Currently, most of the workers confirm the maintenance manually using a manual. This process can be time-consuming and not hundred percent error-free. Mitsubishi Electric has been developing a technology which is maintenance-support using AR based on the 3D models. This would enable the users to confirm that the order of inspection is followed and inspection results can be added. More specifically, the machine’s status can be checked only via glancing it through AR glasses which can be a powerful maintenance tool.
  3. Expert Support:
    In the event of a disturbed manufacturing process, an expert may need to travel to the worksite. There may be numerous technicians available, but only a few experts are available. Augmented Reality can reduce this expense and can let an expert see the issue through the eyes of a technician. This can let them support and inspect from anywhere in the world. They can also guide the technician about the feature they may be interested in.
Virtual Reality in Industry 4.0

Virtual Reality (VR) will be playing a leading role in Industry 4.0. It opens various avenues to develop innovative solutions as manufacturing units equip themselves with smart machines, high connectivity, data intelligence platforms, and simulation tools. These changes will help in refining the production capabilities, and meet the customer requirements

Uses of Virtual Reality Applications in Industry 4.0
  1. Training:
    Virtual reality helps the organization in providing their employees with the real surrounding virtually. These drills are extremely safe. Training to eliminate the distractions like humans, noise, and other obstacles, help the workers to focus on their work and increase productivity. These trainings can also help them to deal with real-time difficulties.
  2. Factory Planning:
    While building a new plant or while revamping the current plant, immense efforts are needed in designing, testing, and then in trials. Virtual plants can help in these scenarios. They can be tested as many times as desired so that the flaws in the entire system can be pointed out and corrected. The entire plant can be designed from the scratch and changes can be made as desired.
  3. Inspection:
    Safety and routine inspections can be carried by the trained experts through virtual manufacturing process environment. This needs to be done as manual inspections may miss crucial checking. With virtual reality, it becomes easy for the experts to take the minute details in the consideration.
Wrapping Up!

The augmented and virtual reality in manufacturing is driven to increase the development and adoption of better processes and to obtain better results. Various technology companies are working to make these technologies more adaptable and penetrate them more in the manufacturing segment. These technologies are able to bring the change on the factory floor, lets the various stakeholders collaborate from the distance, and interact like never before. The businesses need to seize these opportunities to make their mark or go into the obvious oblivion.

Keyur Bhalavat Founder and Director

A young entrepreneur full of intellectual energy and concern that transform into an untiring center of knowledge seeking, unafraid of exploring new and fresh ideas however challenging they may happen to be in the field of technology.