We are witnessing a digital age where virtual and physical worlds converge and revolutionize the landscape of many industries. In what has become the “new normal,” industrial manufacturers are reaping huge productivity gains by leveraging Extended Reality (XR) technologies to support digital manufacturing. According to IDC, global spending on augmented reality (RA) and virtual reality (VR) is expected to grow to $ 72.8 billion in 2024, which is expected to receive the largest investments in industrial training and maintenance.
The adoption of these new technologies can help manufacturers not only navigate the current pandemic crisis, but also allow 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 allows a smooth flow of data throughout the organization, which leads to improvements and benefits throughout the operation. The focal point of the digital thread is the digital twin, or the virtual representation of the physical product or environment.
Augmented reality is the component of visualization and enabling of a digital thread that shows digital information for the manufacture of products, user training and the value chain of the service through the use of 3D geometry, audio, video , text and other media from various sources, at any point in the product life cycle: design, testing, quality assurance, manufacturing and after product launch.
Enlarged reality is a key factor for digital transformation. As part of a connected enterprise, extended reality uses a mix of portable and handheld augmented reality (RA), mixed reality (MR), space computing, and virtual reality (VR) tools to overlay digital information. additional information on how the work is performed.
Here are some ways in which industry organizations can leverage XR to achieve greater efficiency, accuracy, and productivity for their workforce.
Capturing employee knowledge and sharing it across the company is an essential part of maintaining a productive workforce. Although knowledge transfer begins with the documentation of work instructions, it depends largely on effective capture and delivery for the transfer to be successful. XR tools can be useful in helping employees working in plant floor cells to assemble components correctly and in the correct order. As a result, manufacturers can increase worker productivity and improve speed and accuracy in complex assemblies or production lines.
Service calls and visits have become increasingly complex as resources are deployed with more technological and digital elements with the customer. Remote services produce advantages for both manufacturers and their customers and, after COVID-19, this way of working has an even greater appeal. The use of XR technologies, such as augmented or virtual interactive experiences, can enable field service teams to provide on-demand experience through remote assistance using tablets or devices in certain scenarios.
XR can identify a product in the field, collect and provide information, and perform activities related to that product. This helps ensure shared service efficiency and shared visibility along with employee safety.
Immersive product experiences
XR eliminates the requirement for sales professionals to access their customers ’sites by providing a virtual product demo. It can be used to simulate spatial configuration using digital twin experiences and users using a headset display of products even without their physical presence, allowing for faster business investment assessments and early validation of project development.
Digital twins play an important role in extended reality. Using XR tools, multiple users can visualize and interact with the digital twins of a product in a real or virtual environment using physical or holographic prototypes. For example, workers may meet 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 machinery processes and perform maintenance checks from a remote location using dual digital technology.
In short, companies that implement XR in their digital transformation strategies can increase workforce efficiency and security, improve operational performance and productivity, and reduce factory and field costs.
Dave Hadfield is the director of Kalypso Life Sciences.