How they can change the future of industries.
What if all industrial equipment could be controlled virtually without much physical effort, or even without being present in person? This is possible through Augmented Reality (AR), which can enhance any real-world environment by making it interactive. Augmented Reality (AR) is not a new concept. The video gaming industry has had this technology in its products for several years now.
Augmented Reality enhances an existing physical environment by digitally adding computer generated images into them. It is different from Virtual Reality, in which the user interacts with a completely virtual environment, that has no connection to the real – world whatsoever. Hence, a user wearing an AR headset sees the real environment overlaid with other virtual elements. AR recognizes the objects in the environment, processes the visuals and provides real time feedback to the user who uses this information to perform various tasks.
For instance, a technician who is trying to perform routine maintenance on an industrial equipment with the assistance of AR will be able to see data like the types of sensors used and identify unknown components. Without using AR, the technician would take up extra time in identification and measurement. With AR all the required information is provided instantly, and the person only has to perform the task.
Maintenance and Routine Checks
Industrial machines are used for applications like manufacturing and production. In large scale production units, several heavy-duty machines (like boilers, power saws, industrial scales) are also employed. To avoid disruptions, it is imperative that these industrial machines are working perfectly.
Routine checks must be conducted on every individual piece of equipment which can take quite a long time to do and might be accompanied with man-made errors. If this process is automated with the help of AR, then half the job is done.
Augmented Reality is the key to enabling an automated, standard workflow in an industrial setup. This includes training new employees or even guiding experienced employees with the new industrial equipment. Visual or auditory instructions are provided through the AR headset worn by the employee. For example, the assembling and reassembling of a machine can be shown to the user along with verbal instructions.
Training using visual elements helps in better understanding and faster upskilling. AR also creates the opportunity to train remotely. New employees can be given a chance to virtually familiarize themselves with industrial machines and real – world environment they are going to be working in. AR can also facilitate training with new, expensive equipment that cannot be transferred immediately to the workplace. AR saves time and money by providing a virtual environment to gain new skills without travelling long distances.
Visualise the Final Product
AR can be employed right from the design stage of a product produced in industries. The information provided by Augmented Reality can be used to visualise the final product, including its space requirements in the physical environment and this can be useful in preventing any risks associated with the process.
AR can help engineers perform predictive or preventive maintenance on industrial machines. This means that Augmented Reality can predict which parts will need replacement and inform the technician of potential safety hazards that can occur in the future. It is also possible to generate a scheduled maintenance routine that will guide the engineer through the tasks based on which part of the industrial machine needs attention first.
Remote Technical Support
Again, AR is advantageous in situations where the experienced technician is not present on site. The installation, working and testing can be performed remotely by the technician with the help of a less experienced person present on site. The same concept can be applied to provide remote customer support for industrial equipment.
Companies like Siemens utilise Augmented Reality to perform various tasks like real-time quality validation, training and technician remote support. Their AR technology, known as Assist AR includes an automatic validation feature that identifies quality issues in real-time.
Many industries are setting up Augmented Reality as a step towards automating their workplace and production environment. The future of augmented reality in industries can be envisioned as the one where all industries utilise AR to maintain industrial machines.
Travelling to and forth to perform several tasks can be avoided as this technology can be used to receive professional guidance remotely. Any organization trying to manufacture or produce something will rely on AR because it speeds up the process and makes even the less experienced employees productive. The entire process becomes efficient in terms of time, money and overall productivity.