Augmented Reality is Energizing Smart Manufacturing

By Greg Cline

The physical and digital worlds are accelerating fast, now colliding head-on. In manufacturing, this collision and resulting fusion represent the frontier of innovation and reinvention. Exemplifying this physical-digital collision is the use of “Augmented Reality” to design, manufacture, and service products. This blog discusses several exciting use cases for this technology in smart manufacturing.

AR Fuses the Physical and Digital Worlds

Augmented reality (AR) is the real-time use of information with real world objects. AR is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as video, images, graphics, sound, CAD, BIM, GPS, or other data. AR is a virtual reality (VR) technology. VR provides a computer-generated 3D environment that surrounds a user and responds to that individual’s actions in a natural way, through devices such as head-mounted displays, head tracking, and gloves providing haptic feedback.

Best-in-Class manufacturers have taken notice of AR, and are ahead in implementing the technology:

Figure 1: Augmented Reality Implementation

Source: Aberdeen Group, April 2017

While augmented reality is still growing and changing, the manufacturing and design industry have jumped in as key users. In manufacturing, AR is already making strides, driving operational efficiency by reducing production downtime, quickly identifying problems, and keeping processes moving.

Increasingly, the “model-based digital twin” powers AR. These digital twins live with the physical asset, providing a dynamic self-teaching model used to optimize its performance in conjunction with an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform. The model-based digital twin improves design, operations, and servicing via feedback loops between the physical world back to the virtual (digital) world. This combination of machine learning, coupled with physics-based modeling, enables organizations to see how their products performed in the past while simultaneously predicting the future.

AR Use Cases Abound in Manufacturing

Digital Operations Visualization for Virtual Prototyping: Through virtual prototyping, product design engineers are able to study and test complex physics at a level of detail that was impossible to achieve through physical testing. AR provides an operational visualization of the device under design, improving the efficiency and usefulness of virtual prototyping.

Device Design Improvement: We have everything we need today to change the physical world via AR. Using AR and the model-based digital twin and IIoT, we can tweak a product design to match individual usage profiles of the actual device in the field. One example, of many, observed by Aberdeen Group at the recent LiveWorx 2017 show was a case study using an AR-based design tool to squeeze 30% more cooling capacity from a product.

Manufacturing Device Servicing via Mobile AR: Sophisticated yet easy-to-use AR authoring tools allow engineers to create entire “AR experiences” dedicated to showing technicians how to service various devices found on the factory floor. Using AR, a technician can quickly understand how to disassemble and proactively service or repair a faulty device in record time without prior experience with the particular device. This example shows how AR contributes to operational efficiency, as it all starts with operational uptime.

An example from LiveWorx Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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