AR / VR for Industry 4.0

Enabling Manufacturing Productivity

We are working on software enabled killer Apps for SME manufacturers to enable worker productivity manifold compared to what they may have on their shop floors.


Use Case #1 – Remote Expert Assistance

In this use case if a technician in the field needs assistance to fix a machine, they can find remote expert from the product vendor who can show exactly what may be broken through an AR assistant (Figure1). This could also be used to collaborate with various stakeholders remotely on various shop floors.


Use Case #2 – Speeding up Logistics

In this use case in a shop floor or warehouse employee uses AR technology to locate products that need to be packed and shipped or located at the right shelf and bin to bring to the shop floor (Figure 2).


Use Case #3 – Efficient Assembly line

In this use case AR can be used by the workers to assemble for example airplane parts at a Boeing Plant, Windmill parts in a local windmill assembly plant or any such manufacturable equipment.


Use Case #4 – Self-learning on the job

AR can also enable workers to learn by themselves using special guidance techniques to learn & complete the jobs more efficiently. The techniques are visual and enable adult learners to grasp materials 25% faster than paper-based materials. (Figure 3)

And there are also a multitude of mobile enabled AR Apps available.

Technologies that make this possible

Some of the technologies that maybe used to develop such solutions range anywhere from MS HoloLens 2, NVidia Cloud XR to PTC AR and Siemens PLM Vis Web tools for visualization of parts, products & design manuals, accessed over a web browser interface. These solutions can be jointly marketed through the Siemens Frontier program as well to reach the bigger manufacturers.

Imagine through an AR Knowledge Platform, if everyone in your organization could, at any moment, access the expert guidance they need to perform any task with ease. Imagine if that expertise—live or in an AR tutorial—was highly intuitive and accessible on any device, and, if each individual’s performance could be observed, measured, and improved. This could enable, 1) Remote AR assistance and work instructions in the same session, 2) Author work instructions without any coding, 3) as manufacturing becomes more intricate and interconnected, time-to-repair becomes more complex, skillfully repairing the equipment in a timely manner becomes more business critical than ever.


Remote AR Asssitance

Connecting and automating processes along the entire value chain with augmented reality, and wearable solutions is now possible. Imagine digitizing the shop floor workflows through interconnectivity and collaboration of data, machines, and people to maximize efficiency, reduce operational costs, and improve workplace safety.

For documentation purposes both for customers and import customs authorities, spare parts are routinely photographed during the picking process. Previously, the photos had to be assigned to the corresponding order manually, which meant that the process was slowed down. Barcodes are furthermore scanned with an external hand scanner. By constantly picking up and putting away the scanner, the process is additionally delayed.

Warehouse Picking Example


Now imagine, the information shown on the smart glasses directs the employee to the right shelf and bin where the product is placed. Through the visualization of the shelves and spare parts, the information shown in the form is automatically updated in the shipping manifest.  Thus, a manifold increase in efficiency can be achieved by digitizing the picking process.

AR can be big on the assembly line as well. At large manufacturing plants such as Boeing, the employee can visually see how the part can be assembled with voice over instructions on how the wiring can be done for the various electronics parts of the airplane. One estimate predicts that the estimated worker productivity goes up at least by about 34% compared to a worker who is referring to paper or web enabled manuals. 

Also training employees on self-paced scale can be achieved where visual or voice over instructions and commentary from the instructor can be included while the learner is working with the real equipment using various spatial guidance techniques. Some estimates predict at least 25% gains in efficiency can be achieved compared with other methods of self-learning currently available.

In the image below, employee on left takes almost 1 hour extra due to paper-based instructions than employee on right who is getting streaming instructions.

Workforce Training


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