It’s been a while since AR has become the talk of the town. And this immersive technology, which is the fusion of physical and virtual worlds that blur reality’s lines, is now revolutionizing the manufacturing world.
From providing complete visualization to a product even before its prototype is built to being adopted in all the product stages, AR encourages companies in the manufacturing sector to shed their traditional methods. And there is no doubt that it is AR that brings the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) to the manufacturing arena.
Smart manufacturers realize that augmented reality is not just fun and games but has the potential they can leverage. If done in the right way, AR can be a crucial element to boost revenues, optimize operations, and enhance the productivity and efficiency of the workforce.
How Does Augmented Reality Enhance Smart Manufacturing?
Let’s look into four ways augmented reality enhances smart manufacturing.
Adopting AR into the product development phase is a boon to product designers as they can see how the product will look like, even before starting a prototype. This clarifies many doubts that shall arise during the development phase and opens opportunities to test various features and prototypes of the product by just overlaying virtual models onto the real environment.
Training & Maintenance
The workforce is the asset of any business, and therefore investing in employees is crucial to building a valuable business. Based on a study conducted by Deloitte, the shortage of manufacturing skills is expanding and can lead to 2.4 million positions unfilled and can put $2.5 trillion in manufacturing GDP at risk over the next decade.
With many skilled workers approaching retirement, this gap in skills can increase, but the good news is, augmented reality can address these issues and can even improve the efficiency of the existing and new recruits by training them.
Training can be pretty expensive with all the training materials and manuals, online tutorials, and the use of machines and equipment. All this could have worked in the past when all your workforce had to do was memorize. But the times we live in have changed.
Now the workforce is required to rise to the occasion and fix issues in real-time, especially since the pandemic. To help your workforce and to reduce possible pressure on them, AR can be used to provide immersive in-person training on areas where employees lack skills. This engaging and augmented training helps in faster upskill of the workforce.
Similar is the case when employees are confronted with unusual maintenance or repair tasks. An AR implemented workforce is truly empowered and can resolve the issues quickly without any errors by accessing the needed information anytime and getting it right in front of them when they need it.
Improving Efficiency and Productivity
Amidst the retirement of highly skilled labor and the pressure of the pandemic, it is crucial how quickly businesses embrace new technologies to adapt to the new norms of work, fill in the skills gap, and improve the efficiency and productivity of the workforce. An AR-enabled work environment always benefits the workforce and brings long-term growth to the business.
A way to do it is to integrate an AR remote assistance or collaboration platform that is scalable across the enterprise. This ensures real-time visual assistance for anyone seeking help. It enables remote collaboration between team members and allows technicians to connect with experts in real-time, share their physical space, and receive guidance through AR content and annotations.
Adopting an AR-based remote application has proved before to improve the productivity of the workforce, first-time fix rates, and has reduced downtime significantly for the business.
Easy Access to Information Anytime
An augmented application helps the workforce access any information required at any time from anywhere in the world. A more advanced AR application includes 3D models, step-by-step instructions and supports multi-user collaboration.
The plus side is that in addition to getting the right information displayed in front of them through AR wearables, smartphones, or tablets, AR platforms keep the workforce connected with experts, who can then guide them through the tasks.
Is Investing in AR the Right Choice?
I’ll say that investing your time and money in augmented reality will only help your business grow in the future. And to back up what I said, a report from Grand View Research says that the augmented reality market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 43.8% from 2021 to 2028.
And do you know what is propelling its growth? The adoption of remote assistance and collaboration applications by enterprises. So, don’t waste any more time. Start thinking of investing in AR and take a step today to digitally transform your manufacturing sector.
About the Guest Author(s)
Ann Meeval Mathew
Ann is a digital marketing executive in Iboson Innovations, based in India. She completed her engineering at CUSAT University, and she chose the marketing field to follow her passion. She is an avid reader and has an interest in technology and anything related to marketing.