_How to improve manufacturing sustainability with Augmented Reality enabled quality control
Team Manager for Mixed Reality
30 June 2023
Reading time: 9 minutes
Augmented Reality has helped the manufacturing industry in numerous ways. One of the significant benefits is that it allows workers to visualize and interact with digital models of products and processes in real time. This helps in identifying errors and potential issues in the production process, which can be corrected before they lead to wastage of resources. AR also enables remote collaboration, reducing the need for travel, and thus reducing the carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.
Reduce Material Waste in the manufacturing industry
A remote mentor guides a manufacturing worker from a web browser-based tool by labeling objects and presenting step-by-step instructions in real time to the worker’s Augmented Reality headset.
One of the biggest challenges for manufacturing companies is reducing waste while maintaining productivity. Material waste can be a significant source of environmental impact, as well as a drain on the company’s resources. AR-enabled assembly can help reduce material waste by guiding workers through the assembly process, reducing errors, and thus having a tremendous impact on the amount of material used.
Augmented Reality (AR) can enhance worker productivity by providing real-time guidance and visual aids. This technology minimizes interruptions and helps workers focus, resulting in fewer mistakes. Additionally, Augmented Reality enables remote collaboration with experts, allowing workers of any experience level to access specialized knowledge and skills.
Following are some ways in which traditional assembly differs from AR-enhanced assembly:
Visualization: In traditional assembly, workers rely on 2D drawings or diagrams to visualize the finished product. With Augmented Reality, workers can see a 3D model of the product overlaid in the real world, making it easier to visualize the final product and identify any potential issues.
Real-time feedback: In traditional assembly, workers may not realize they have made a mistake until later in the process. With Augmented Reality, workers can receive real-time feedback on their progress, with visual cues and instructions overlaid on their workspace.
Quality control: Traditional assembly may require a manual inspection to ensure that each product meets quality standards. With Augmented Reality (AR), workers can use digital overlays to check for proper alignment, fit, and other quality control factors in real-time.
Reduce Carbon Footprint
Sustainable manufacturing (sometimes known as green manufacturing) represents a holistic approach to the manufacturing process to reduce negative environmental and economic impacts.
AR-enabled quality control can also be used to reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing. With the help of AR, companies can reduce the need for physical prototypes, which will reduce the number of utilities and resources required to produce them.
On top of that, solutions like SkillWorx Assisted Worker can be used to bring together geographically dispersed teams and facilitate remote collaboration. By using AR, engineers, and other professionals can collaborate on designs, review prototypes, and provide feedback in real-time, reducing the need for travel and transportation.
Such collaboration on augmented prototypes and guided inspections helps in the identification of all potential defects and deviations from specification, enabling faster and more reliable correction of potential problems before the product reaches the final stage of the design and production process.
Improve Productivity and Efficiency
Augmented Reality-enabled quality control can also be used to improve productivity and efficiency in manufacturing. It enables workers to access information about the production process by overlaying digital information in the real-world environment. Workers can wear AR-enabled devices, such as smart glasses, that display relevant information, such as quality control checklists and procedures and equipment specifications, directly in their field of view.
By providing this information, Augmented Reality enables faster identifying and correcting defects and deviations early in the process, where quality control helps reduce the need for rework, which can be time-consuming and costly. This can lead to faster production times and increased productivity.
Of course, all information can be customized to the worker’s role, experience, and preferences, ensuring that they have the right information at the right time. Additionally, workers can use Augmented Reality technology to visualize the production process and identify potential problems or bottlenecks before they occur, thereby enhancing their ability to make informed decisions and take corrective actions in real-time.
Overall, Augmented Reality technology provides workers with quick and easy access to the information they need to perform their tasks more efficiently and accurately.
Identify waste in utility usage
In addition to quality control within the production process, Augmented Reality can also support control in the area of maintenance and sustainable use of utilities.
In collaboration with energy solutions (such as Energy Advisor for Manufacturing), AR can also provide real-time data on the energy consumption of the equipment, augmented directly on equipment and installations.
This is important because usually the maintenance of installations and equipment is not planned as long as they function properly. This leads to a situation where a seemingly small leak goes unnoticed – or even if it does, its repair is postponed. Having the calculation of losses available, one can quickly make a decision based on data about the re-prioritization of maintenance tasks.
In addition, having contextualized information on the consumption of energy and other utilities from the perspective of specific areas, assets, and processes – it is easier to analyze them and notice bottlenecks, problems, and optimization opportunities.
All these activities have a direct impact on reducing the consumption and losses of utilities in production and utilization, which translates into more sustainable development.
In conclusion, the use of AR technology in the manufacturing industry has tremendous potential to increase efficiency and productivity.
Unleash the full potential of Augmented Reality
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Maintenance and Repair
AR-enabled quality control can also be used to improve maintenance and repair processes. With the help of Augmented Reality, engineers can easily identify faulty equipment and fix it without wasting time and resources. Augmented Reality can provide real-time instructions and information about the equipment, which will make the maintenance and repair process more efficient. This will not only reduce downtime but also improve the equipment’s lifespan, thereby reducing the need for frequent replacements.
Maintenance and repair processes could be improved in several ways:
Faster diagnosis: AR can help workers quickly identify equipment problems by overlaying diagnostic information in the real-world environment. This can reduce the time it takes to diagnose a problem, allowing repairs to be carried out more quickly.
Better guidance: AR can provide step-by-step instructions for maintenance and repair procedures, reducing the risk of errors and increasing efficiency.
Remote assistance: AR can enable remote experts to provide real-time guidance to workers in the field. This can be particularly useful for complex repairs or for workers in remote locations.
Check out the success story of Solaris Bus & Coach. See how Augmented Reality and SkillWorx provide knowledge-as-a-service in bus maintenance by enabling guidance at each repair step, voice-activated functions in a hands-free experience, and direct contact. Solaris experts via AR headsets shorten repair time and minimize vehicle downtime.
Improve Training and Skill Development
AR-enabled quality control can be used to improve the training and skill development of manufacturing workers. With the help of Augmented Reality, workers can be trained in new equipment, tools, and procedures without disrupting the production process. Augmented Reality can provide step-by-step instructions, simulations, and 3D models to train workers. This will not only improve the quality of work but also reduce the risk of accidents and injuries, thereby reducing the costs associated with accidents and injuries.
For example, a worker might need to perform maintenance on a large piece of machinery. With an Augmented Reality app, they could use a mobile device or headset to see a virtual representation of the machinery and the steps needed to complete the maintenance.
The app could show virtual animations of how parts fit together or provide step-by-step instructions on what needs to be done. Also, employees could make recordings during their AR-guided work, creating a knowledge base about certain procedures.
AR-enabled quality control is a powerful tool for manufacturers looking to improve their sustainability. By leveraging Augmented Reality technology, manufacturers can identify and correct errors early in the production process, reducing the amount of material waste and energy consumed during manufacturing.
This not only reduces the environmental impact of manufacturing but also increases efficiency and productivity, allowing manufacturers to produce high-quality products in a shorter amount of time. Additionally, AR-enabled quality control can improve worker safety by providing real-time information and guidance. By investing in AR-enabled devices and software, manufacturers can benefit from improved sustainability, reduced environmental impact, and increased profitability.
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