4 Ways Augmented Reality is Revolutionizing Manufacturing


From the design studio to the factory floor, augmented reality technologies like Google Glass 2.0 and Microsoft Hololens are playing a big role in the Industry 4.0 revolution.

Some of the world’s biggest corporations like Boeing, Samsung, Volvo, and GE are investing heavily equipping their factories with AR tech.


Here are four key ways that AR is changing the way manufacturing works:


1. AR Allows Designers to Interact With Models Like Never Before

3D design tools are exponentially more powerful when you can actually reach out and make adjustments to your model with your hands. Industrial designers and engineers can work more intuitively with AR because it allows them to conceptualize and sculpt virtual models on a bigger scale. A design team can put on AR headsets and walk around their virtual prototype, seeing it from all angles.


(Image Credit: Microsoft.)

2. AR Can Simplify a Complicated Assembly

Industrial workers putting together a complex product like a car or an aircraft have to work with thousands of parts that have to be assembled in exactly the right way. Traditionally, assembly workers would refer to diagrams or written instructions, and it could take days to become familiar with their work. Using an AR system, assembly instructions and information about the parts are superimposed onto the things the worker is handling. They can access instructions by using voice commands, so they can keep their hands free, and even simultaneously see videos showing them how to complete tasks.



(Photo: An assembly worker at Volvo using the Microsoft Hololens AR system. Photo credit: Microsoft.)


3. Maintenance is Safer and More Efficient with AR

A maintenance technician walking around a factory wearing AR headgear sees superimposed data relating to the machinery in front of them. They can readily access diagnostic information like how recently the machine was serviced, what the operating temperature is, and whether they need to order spare parts. Industrial AR systems can also give technicians and workers real-time warnings on their headgear if the machines they are working with are in a hazardous condition.



(Image credit: Wemo.)


4. If You Need Answers; Patch in an Expert

Assembly workers and technicians routinely face problems they don’t know how to solve, or need to get advice from management about how to proceed. When problems arise in an AR enabled factory, management and expert consultants can patch in and see exactly what workers are trying to do, almost as if they were seeing through their eyes. Then, when they are explaining solutions, they can illustrate their advice with superimposed information workers can see on their headsets.



(Image credit: Vital Enterprises.)


Take a Look at the Way Volvo is Using Microsoft’s Hololens AR Tech: