We are witnessing a digital age where virtual and physical worlds are converging and revolutionizing the landscape of many industries. In what has become the “new normal”, industrial manufacturers are realizing significant productivity gains by leveraging extended reality (XR) technologies to support digital manufacturing. According to IDC, global spending on augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) is expected to reach $ 72.8 billion by 2024 – those expected to receive the largest investments are training and industrial maintenance.
Adopting these new technologies can help manufacturers not only get through the current pandemic crisis, but also enable them to be more agile and productive after the pandemic, as they enable the factory of the future.
Unforeseen disruptive events like COVID-19 have made the digital thread more important than ever. The digital thread enables transparent data flow throughout the organization, resulting in improvements and benefits throughout the operation. The focal point of the digital thread is the digital twin, or the virtual representation of the product or the physical environment.
Extended Reality is the visualization and activation component of a digital thread that highlights digital information for product manufacturing, user training, and the service value chain by leveraging 3D geometry, audio, video, text, and other media from multiple sources, at any point in the product lifecycle – design, testing, quality assurance, manufacturing, and after product launch.
Extended reality is a key driver of digital transformation. As part of a connected business, extended reality uses a mix of portable and portable augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), space computing and virtual reality (VR) tools to overlay information digital additional to the way the work is done.
Here are some ways that industrial organizations can take advantage of XR technology to improve the efficiency, accuracy and productivity of their workforce.
Capturing worker knowledge and sharing it across the company is a critical part of maintaining a productive workforce. While knowledge transfer begins with documenting work instructions, it relies heavily on effective capture and delivery for the transfer to be successful. XR tools can be useful in helping employees working on factory cells to assemble components correctly and in the correct order. As a result, manufacturers can increase worker productivity and improve the speed and accuracy of complex assemblies or production lines.
Service calls and visits have become increasingly complex as assets with more technological and digital elements are deployed with the customer. Remote services have benefits for both manufacturers and their customers, and in the aftermath of COVID-19, this way of working is even more appealing. The use of XR technologies, such as augmented or virtual interactive experiences, can allow field service teams to provide on-demand expertise via remote assistance via tablets or devices in certain scenarios.
XR may be used to identify a product in the field, collect and provide information, and perform activities related to that product. This helps ensure service efficiency and shared visibility as well as employee safety.
Immersive product experiences
XR eliminates the requirement for sales professionals to access their customers’ sites by providing a virtual product demonstration. It can be used to simulate the spatial configuration via a digital twin and user experiences via a product display headset even without their physical presence, allowing for faster assessments of business investments and early validation of project development.
Digital twins play an important role in extended reality. Using XR tools, multiple users can view and interact with a product’s digital twin in a real or virtual environment on physical or holographic prototypes. For example, workers can come together in a virtual reality environment to test the fit of a product on a pallet or store shelf. Workers can also use augmented reality to better understand machine processes and perform remote maintenance checks using digital twin technology.
In summary, companies that implement XR in their digital transformation strategies can increase workforce efficiency and safety, improve operational performance and productivity, and reduce costs in the factory and in the field. .
Dave Hadfield is the Director of Life Sciences at Kalypso.