A manufacturing firm is responsible for creating a workplace that’s free of health risks and safety concerns. In any manufacturing setting, the wrong equipment can do more harm than good. For instance, employees are at risk of serious safety hazards when they have to haul heavy, outdated equipment around. Productivity, among other things, also suffers in such scenarios. In other words, poor workplace facilities often translate into poor revenue. However, now that augmented reality is on the rise, things are about to change.
Little by little, AR is eliminating these nuances. It is gradually transforming the manufacturing and assembly processes of companies around the globe.
AR in Manufacturing
Like most emerging technologies, augmented reality is in its infancy. Nevertheless, it’s already making significant changes to the manufacturing industry.
More and more companies are investing in wearable technologies. Some are using head-mounted gear that integrates with augmented reality to provide employees with crucial data for their tasks. Instead of going through mounds of paperwork, engineers and manufacturers can easily access the information they need with AR applications. Whether it’s to perform a task or conduct an assessment, they can work much faster. They can also do their work more effectively.
Airbus, for instance, uses smart glasses. Their technicians use the augmented reality-enabled tool for the final assembly process. The aerospace industry has been using such technologies for a long time. Equipped with AR tools, engineers are able to detect flaws and prevent disastrous outcomes. It took a while, but other sectors are finally catching up and using AR to their advantage as well.
Maintenance has also been easier for engineers and technicians now that AR shows them exactly what the problems are. Teams can even fix the issues in no time, minimizing maintenance sessions. AR applications enable maintenance teams to work without having to shut down production. This way, a manufacturing firm can reduce production downtime, which usually costs them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Implementing AR Applications on the Factory Floor
Aside from Airbus, engineers at Lockheed Martin use augmented reality glasses to assemble F-35 aircrafts. Built with cameras, motion sensors, and depth sensors, the tool overlays digital images onto a factory space. Engineers can see all the parts and instructions for assembling specific components. According to Lockheed Martin, this new method has helped them improve their accuracy by 96%. It has also helped engineers work 30% faster.
The DAQRI smart glasses are another piece of AR wearable tech that engineers use on the factory floor. This device incorporates digital and holographic data into the physical environment. Engineers, manufacturers, and technicians can use it to gain access to specs, inventory, location, and more. With AR, workers can carry out tasks perfectly without needing specialized education.
The manufacturing industry is poised for total transformation because of augmented reality. Armed with AR tools, manufacturing facilities around the world can improve overall safety, reduce costs, prevent errors, and improve quality. As long as AR remains advantageous to companies, it will become and remain a dominant force in the manufacturing industry in the years to come. Soon, more companies are going to use AR to empower their workforce. Even firms that are still mired in old ways will eventually come around and begin to embrace this emerging technology.