40 NEWEQUIPMENT.COM I NOVEMBER 2020CHECKLIST
By Remi Del Mar
In a very short period of time, the manufacturing indus- try has been dramatically impacted by the ‘new normal’ work environment. Even as factories begin to safely re- open, manufacturers must adjust to changing workplacesafety needs, implementing new technology and tools tohelp ensure the health and safety of personnel on factoryfloors as well as in the field. In light of these circumstances,digital transformation has become a necessity in many industries, with companies expediting the integration of collaboration tools into their day-to-day operations to improveservice, repair, and communication.
With fewer people in factories and even fewer peopletraveling to comply with national and regional safety guidelines, manufacturers are turning to Augmented Reality(AR) technology for remote support and team collaboration. AR has the ability to apply layers of computer-generat-ed information and images onto the user’s view of a physicalenvironment and can be delivered through a hand-held orhands-free device. Unlike hand-held devices such as mobile phones and tablets, coupling AR technology with ahands-free solution such as AR smart glasses, allows factoryworkers to have situational awareness and keep their handsfree for equipment operations and repairs. Additionally, formanufacturing environments with safety requirements, certified protective shields can be paired with, or are alreadyintegrated with smart glass devices.
APPLICATIONS OF AR SMART GLASSESIN MANUFACTURING
Whether at an automotive manufacturing plant, an offshore environmental remediation site or a field inspectionof transmission equipment, AR smart glasses can helpstreamline a variety of remote assistance and collaborationapplications including:• Streamlined Remote Product Development: The development of products can be a lengthy process that requiresnumerous back-and-forth communications between several divisions. As companies shift to meet ever-changing safety guidelines, the technology supporting remote collaboration will become critical to sustaining product developmenttimelines. Leveraging cutting-edge augmented reality solutions, not only can collaboration between parties improve,teammates are able to work on the same project from different locations, which ultimately can reduce travel costs.
• Complex Assembly: While assembly instructions for a
new product can be made available as a PDF that is printed
or displayed on a phone or tablet, these solutions are not
optimal for operators to work hands-free. A wearable head
mount display (HMD), such as AR smart glasses, allows
work instructions to be displayed in the operator’s line
of sight with their hands-free to continue working in re-
al-time. In instances where product assembly is especially
complex, AR smart glasses can be used for assistance from
a remote expert who can discern the issue quickly seeing
what the operator sees. After the assessment is made, the
remote expert can send files such as images, PDFs, and
videos, or make and send annotations that remain locked
on the shared screen.
• Remote Workforce Training: In-person manufacturingand technical training and development can be costly whendealing with large, complex pieces of machinery or dangerousequipment with strict safety protocols and guidelines. UsingAR smart glasses, manufacturers can connect inexperiencedpersonnel with remote experts to provide real-time visualguidance without the cost and logistics of getting everyone inthe same room. With AR smart glasses, factory workers canbe trained, informed, and protected in real-time.
• Equipment Installation, Maintenance, and Repair: ARsmart glasses allow maintenance crews to connect with remote experts to identify equipment that needs servicing, aswell as any potential problems. By “seeing what the maintenance crew sees” in real-time, remote experts can provide theappropriate audio or text instructions, PDF service manualsor tutorial video links to help expedite repairs. Additionally,remote inspectors can see what the on-site team sees beforesigning off on equipment installations, quality control audits,approving repairs completed, or suggesting corrective action.This eliminates guesswork, reduces the risk of breakdowns,and allows for fast and efficient servicing.
AR BENEFITS FOR TODAY’S
When a machine suddenly stops working, it can bring
factory production to a screeching halt. The equipment
downtime coupled with the time it takes for an expert to
travel onsite can cost significant amounts of money. With
AR remote assistance, operators and technicians can col-
laborate with remote specialists in real-time, resulting in
• Completing Tasks Quickly: In critical downtime, AR remote assistance can allow field personnel to collaborate inreal-time with remote experts to complete difficult tasks withfewer mistakes, which can result in reduced execution timeand equipment downtime.
• Productivity: In niche manufacturing areas, regionalexpert resources are limited. With AR remote assistance,experts around the globe can be utilized to provide instruction in the field without the need for costly andtime-consuming travel.
• Optimizing ROI: Ultimately, AR remote assistance canallow manufacturers to save money by potentially reducing re-work and travel costs, and ongoing maintenance bygetting the job done right the first time to reduce equipment breakdowns.
Almost all industries and sectors have been impactedworldwide and recent projections reveal that manufacturinghas undoubtedly been one of the top industries that will be hitthe hardest this year. With the workplace landscape continuing to change, now is the time for manufacturers to adoptAR technology to help improve operations. By harnessingthe power of AR and remote assistance for resource access,streamlined workforce training, and issue resolution, manufacturers can get ahead of the capabilities gap and build theculture to transition to and exceed in the ‘new normal.’
Why AR Should be Consideredfor the New Normal Workplace
Learn how to effectively use AR smart glasses for different industrial applications and the benefits that they provide.