Industrial digitalization has prompted more companies to incorporate augmented reality (AR) into their manufacturing processes. The technology is expected to simplify routine tasks like prototyping and machinery maintenance.
The fourth industrial revolution is already underway. Valued at USD 65.53 billion in 2021, the Industry 4.0 market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.8% between 2022 and 2030. Several companies are already implementing digital tools like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and augmented reality (AR) into their manufacturing processes in response to this.
Among these technologies, augmented reality in manufacturing is of particular importance. It can simplify various processes, from training to quality assurance, and the manufacturing sector is already lapping it up. For perspective, the industrial and manufacturing sector accounted for the largest revenue share (about 24.3%) in the Global Augmented Reality market in 2021, according to Grandview Research. That figure is expected to grow even more in the future as more and more companies adopt augmented reality into their manufacturing processes.
Besides, most individuals are already familiar with using a tablet. For perspective, in 2021 there were 1.28 billion tablet users worldwide. So, implementing tablets doesn’t require much additional training for staff, keeping costs low.
Wearable AR is used for manufacturing processes like repairing equipment. This reduces the back and forth between doing the job and referring to a manual, thereby reducing maintenance time. For some companies, that amounts to about 40 hours per week.
The above types of AR tech have different applications and are used to streamline various manufacturing processes.
One can interact in real time with virtual objects and learn more about them through audio. Moreover, all the training materials can be made once and uploaded onto a shared database, enabling workers to access them from anywhere and at any time.
AR-based instructions make documenting instructions easier as well. For example, one can add audio cues to supplement the 3D projections via a simple interface.
AR simplifies the prototyping process by helping designers visualize prototypes working in the real world. This reduces the costs associated with physical prototyping.
With AR, a technician can immediately retrieve machinery health status, its history of repairs, the repair manual, and safety alerts from a single device. This saves time and effort.
Click in "See in your space" to see this laser cutting machine
Many companies implement AR to streamline production processes by ensuring workers have access to all the information they need on demand. For instance, BMW uses AR goggles to assist workers in the stud welding process. The optical tracking system tracks infrared LEDs on the machine and guides the worker to target a particular welding point, ensuring accuracy.
Augmented reality helps aerospace and defense manufacturing units work optimally, improves knowledge transfer across team members, and thereby increases the speed of manufacturing.
Lockheed Martin used AR goggles to figure out accurate attachment points when building the NASA Orion spacecraft. The instructions for the process were directly overlaid onto the physical spacecraft, helping workers perform complex manufacturing tasks quickly.
For example, Bosch, a renowned electronics and home appliance maker, uses augmented reality in their Dresden plant to perform maintenance work remotely and efficiently.
Apprentice.io’s manufacturing execution system, for instance, helps the company follow complex batch recipes through audio instructions and AR-assisted overlays.
These are just some of the exciting ways in which augmented reality companies like Enhance are revolutionizing business processes across multiple sectors, including manufacturing.