Industry 4.0: how Augmented Reality is improving manufacturing

augmented reality industry 4.0

New technology is being implemented in almost every field in the digital age. Augmented reality Industry 4.0 is at the cutting edge of the manufacturing process, promoting benefits that counteract many of the industry’s common pain points.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 refers to the fourth industrial revolution or the current push to update old manufacturing processes with cutting-edge technology. 

Among the prevalent solutions are technologies such as the Internet of Things to drive digital recordkeeping, automation to speed up repetitive processes, and augmented and virtual reality to improve operator experience.

Benefits of Augmented Reality in the manufacturing process

Digitization comes with a large set of benefits, and those can be enhanced with augmented reality for Industry 4.0. AR for manufacturing can improve production metrics, help operators work safely and efficiently, and solve maintenance or data collection issues.

1. Increased speed in production

Speed is paramount in any production process, and hosts of obstacles can get in the way. AR is designed to help with many of these obstacles.

One of the first things that come to mind regarding production slowdowns is machinery malfunctions. Most lines have some combination of manual and machine-based work so that mechanical failures can grind production to a halt.

The troubleshooting process to fix machinery can range from immediate diagnosis to waiting days for a vendor to arrive on-site. Still, troubleshooting can happen instantly with augmented reality, from having programs to walk through common issues or using AR field service technology to bring an expert on-site virtually. In a similar vein, having AR programs to walk your maintenance team through standard procedures can save time from improved efficiency and reduce costly maintenance mistakes. Such guidance can also help operators perform assemblies, inspections, and other tasks.

Using AR guidance removes many barriers to paperwork instructions and allows operators to focus on their work rather than looking around to find their next step.

2. Better quality of final products

Just as guidance can help with the speed of a process, it also improves the quality of the final products. Having clear instructions helps prevent manufacturing errors that show up later in QA, reducing rework and scrapped parts. When joined with verification solutions such as light curtains or machine vision checks, AR can also help detect errors as they occur and assist the operator in fixing them before the part moves down the line.

Giving the operator the correct information at the right time allows them to be productive while reducing stress. This often leads to a reduction in mistakes and a better quality of work overall.

3. Improved manufacturing training

Augmented reality manufacturing training is both effective and efficient. Using AR, new hires can walk through a process as many times as they need to without the risk of messing up a production part. Managers’ time is also freed up, as they no longer need to be constantly present while an employee is being trained. The AR programs can guide them through the proper techniques and provide insight into more complicated portions and why certain operations are done a certain way.

Additionally, using AR to connect remote workers to those on the plant floor allows newer technicians to receive guidance from experts who can walk them through more complicated processes. As a result, they can learn on the job without fear of making the problem worse.

4. Data Collection

One of the less-obvious benefits of augmented reality is that many solutions come with built-in data collection functionality. So whether you need to log service tickets or keep a record of how many times a new employee went through a training program, AR solutions keep track of that sort of data.

Having this data allows a company to identify bottlenecks, track production mistakes back to their source, and see the results of changes on any processes. In a way, data is a large part of what drives Industry 4.0 and the ability to find modern solutions to classic pain points.

Though augmented reality may sound like it belongs in science fiction stories, it is now being deployed in manufacturing environments across the globe. With its capabilities to improve product quality and efficiency, handle the training, promote safety, and collect data, AR can help companies join the ranks of those invested in Industry 4.0.

5. Improved Communication

With the right tools for augmented reality Industry 4.0, you can improve your communication with customers on and off the plant floor. With real-time translation capabilities, you can connect with customers worldwide and communicate clearly without worrying about language barriers.

Ready to try AR for manufacturing?

Acty offers a fifteen-day free trial for their state-of-the-art AR solutions. Spend two weeks becoming familiar with the technology and see if it is a good fit for your needs.

Try Acty today
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