Virtual and Augmented Reality in Manufacturing

Key Applications You Need to Know About

Think AR and VR typically focus on the “flashier,” consumer-facing applications that have arisen in recent years? You may be surprised how far the uses of virtual and augmented reality in manufacturing has gone.  

Many impressive uses will likely emerge in the near future. The following are just a few more noteworthy examples.

Augmented Reality Improving Efficiency IN MANUFACTURING

Efficiency is obviously important in manufacturing. So is accuracy. Companies need to produce items at a fast rate, while ensuring all the necessary components fit together properly, and no components are missing.

Achieving this goal can be difficult in many circumstances. It’s not uncommon for employees at manufacturing facilities to be responsible for putting together items with literally hundreds of components. Although they’ve always had instructions on hand when they forget a step in the process, which can occur fairly regularly, those instructions have typically been in the form of booklets or PDFs. This can make it difficult to efficiently find the information one needs when manufacturing a complex item. Additionally, because these instruction manuals are static, if someone else finds a simpler way to complete a certain step, they can’t share that information with any other employees easily.

That’s not an issue with AR. Some manufacturing companies now use AR instructions. These can dynamically illustrate how to complete any step in the process. Employees can even watch videos of other employees completing the same step. This makes it easier for others to share more efficient methods. Because the instructions can be called up through voice commands, employees don’t even need to stop what they are doing to find the necessary information.

This will obviously help manufacturers generate items more quickly than ever before. It will also reduce the likelihood of manufacturing errors.

Virtual Reality in manufacturing: Assisting in the Design Process

Before a product can be manufactured on a large scale, manufacturers must often coordinate with the product’s developers to agree upon a design. This isn’t merely to ensure the design is pleasing to consumers. They also need to check for defects or flaws they may have missed when envisioning the product on paper. That’s particularly important when manufacturing complex items such as cars.

In the past, manufacturers had to build models and prototypes during this stage. This is obviously a very time-consuming and resource-intensive process.

That’s why more manufacturers are now using VR to create designs. Creating a VR rendering is a much more efficient process than constructing a full prototype or model. It’s also less expensive. This allows manufacturers to thoroughly check the design, without spending more time and money than necessary to do so. It also allows them to experiment with proposed design changes quickly. Instead of building a new model or prototype when they want to make a change, manufacturers can simply make changes to the rendering.

Using Augmented Reality in Equipment Maintenance

It’s worth noting that AR and VR don’t simply improve manufacturing efficiency. They can also be used when performing maintenance on manufacturing equipment. With a VR headset or AR glasses, employees can easily visualize issues that need to be addressed. They can also easily access instructions for making the necessary repairs, and can superimpose images of the steps required to correct the problem. One major elevator manufacturer is already using AR in this capacity. It’s likely others will follow suit in the near future.

This is yet another way AR and VR in manufacturing can help companies save both time and money. When identifying a piece of equipment’s maintenance needs is easier, addressing minor issues before they become major problems is also easier.

Augmented and Virtual Reality In Manufacturing: an Ormuco Use Case

It’s important to understand that these technologies aren’t mere novelties. The use of AR and VR in manufacturing isn’t a fad. According to one recent survey, greater than one-third of US manufacturing companies either already use VR in some capacity, or plan on doing so in the next few years.

This represents a lucrative opportunity. In 2017, the manufacturing industry’s output was worth $35 trillion. As more companies in the industry embrace these technologies, the demand for AR and VR manufacturing applications will only increase.

These applications will need to be reliable. They’ll require a strong infrastructure to ensure consistent performance. Luckily, Ormuco offers an autonomous platform for provisioning and managing thousands of nodes. It can handle AR/VR workloads of any kind, and uses 5G for fast processing in real-time applications. This is key to reliability.