April 19, 2018
The manufacturing industry is ever-changing with advancements in technology, this is no exception with new Augmented Reality(AR) and Virtual Reality(VR) technologies. Using these to assist with current processes paves the way for enormous potential gains in productivity, cost reduction, risk reduction, and improved output.
Applications of VR and AR in Manufacturing
Similarly oil and gas industry , to the Manufacturing is one of the main industries driving VR and AR industry forward. With the ability to reshape many areas of the manufacturing process here are just a few.
Maintenance and inspection
Using AR in the maintenance and inspection period can be used to decrease both inspection times while assisting in detection of errors in current processes. Here’s how:
Remote expert support
Having to get an expert come on-site to fix an issue or repair equipment can be costly and result in long downtimes and delays. This can be addressed using remote experts with the use of AR and VR. By allowing an expert virtually to assist in safety inspections, the need to have these experts travel to the site for routine maintenance and field visits is greatly reduced. Using a ‘see what I see’ AR application the expert can give guided assistance to an onsite technician competing the maintenance. This can be expanded to allow the expert to add annotated information into the field of view of the technician pointing out features.
This can help cover the growing skill gap within the in-manufacturing industry. Rather than needing train experts on every site the use of remote assistance can spread out skilled employees across the world and provide assistance and training when needed anywhere needed.
AR can be used to enhance current maintenance and inspection processes. The use of an AR checklist can help speed up current inspections while also making them more effective and consistent. Adding a virtual overlay to the user can allow them to confirm the order of inspection and input the results with their voice, making the documentation of the process handsfree. This can be expanded further by having the application take photographs, enhancing the documentation of results or by virtually annotating the object being inspected and maintained.
The use of VR and AR during the product design stages of development allows product designers make fast modifications or additions to the design and physically see the results. There is then also the option to add an AR overlay of a new feature onto an existing physical prototype. This can greatly enhance the design process allowing to see any mistakes before full manufacturing begins, reducing the chance of costly mistakes or design flaws.
Safety is always key to any manufacturing process. Both to keep workers safe and to ensure there is no unnecessary down time. Incorporating virtual reality into staff training can help reduce these risks and enhance current traditional training progresses.
We explored this in our reasons to be using VR for training.
Being able to recreate a manufacturing line and relating environments within a virtual world can be used to huge effect. Allowing you to help locate potential hazards before they ever have a chance of occurring. It can go even further than this though, having these environments created before a factory has been built opens the possibilities to train staff before equipment has even be installed reducing downtime while staff get up to speed. Meaning you reduce the risk of expensive or dangerous mistakes before they occur.
As ever the manufacturing industry is never afraid to adopt new innovative technologies to help improve current processes and find new practices. With VR and AR, it has been no different and we look forward to seeing where we can further innovate in this field.
If you have an idea you want created get in touch with us and we can bring it to life. Whether it’s a quick prototype,a full product or even just to brainstorm, our team will be here to help. From the beginnings of your prototype to the final product we can support you with professional advice and delivery.