Top 10 Use Cases of Augmented Reality (AR) for Manufacturers

Most industrial companies recognize the need to modernize their production and quality control processes and to integrate innovative tools into their strategy. Although digital solutions have long since appeared in offices to design and simulate manufactured products, the potential for digitalization remains very important in operational areas, where digital technologies are still not widely deployed. While organizations are in a constant battle to decide if a technology is a viable business solution or a passing fad, there can be significant gains in terms of productivity, quality and efficiency of operations when the right ones are chosen.

Once considered a fad, and now seen as the next wave of virtual and real-world collaboration, Augmented Reality (AR) for Manufacturers is driving the new era of efficiency, in this article, we’ll explore how.

Top 10 Use Cases of Augmented Reality (AR) for Manufacturers

While identifying viable technological advancements to leverage in your business can be difficult, if you aren’t in a position to call the shots, getting interest and buy-in from leaders can be an even bigger challenge. If you have identified Augmented Reality as the right solution for you to drive innovation, increase efficiencies, and minimize errors, we’re here to help you get the buy-in you need. Here are the top ten use cases of augmented reality (AR) for manufacturers:

  1. Assembly assistance
  2. Quality control of assemblies and sub-assemblies
  3. Control of surface defects on unitary parts
  4. Inspection of supplier equipment on arrival
  5. Assistance with maintenance operations
  6. Replacing copies and templates
  7. Assistance in non-destructive testing
  8. Assistance with painting operations
  9. Control of industrial boiler equipment
  10. Inspection and preview of infrastructures

The Benefits of Industrial Augmented Reality (AR) Solutions

A Deeper Dive into the Top 10 Use Cases of Augmented Reality (AR) for Manufacturers

1. Assembly Assistance

The Challenge: How can operators be guided through preparation and assembly tasks to get it right-first-time when working in a production context?

The AR Solution: The digital assembly instructions directly from the 3D digital mock-up (DMU) are materialized in the field by being projected directly onto the equipment or displayed on a screen. The stages of assembly, in particular, the precise location and reference of the elements (drilling diameters, type of rivets, type of supports to be assembled etc.), are digitally superimposed on the actual part to be assembled to guide the operator step by step.

The Result:

  • Reduction of preparation time
  • Increase in rate of production
  • Reduction of error rate
  • Acceleration in the rise of skills

2. Quality control of assemblies and sub-assemblies

The Challenge: How can product compliance be effectively controlled in accordance with quality standards and customer requirements, while ensuring a high level of traceability?

The AR Solution: Using a tablet, a remote camera or even smart glasses for short operations, AR assists the operator in the control stages: the operator can see the location of the control points and note any potential non-conformities detected, either manually or with the assistance of automatic detection algorithms. Defects are documented using photographs and located with reference to the 3D model.

The Result:

  • Reduction in time taken up by control, repair and reporting
  • Improvement in quality
  • Reduction of the risk of errors while locating and interpreting faults
  • Improvement in traceability and documentation

3. Control of surface defects on unitary parts

The Challenge:  How can surface defects be reliably and accurately checked and identified to ensure the quality and compliance of individual parts?

The AR Solution:  Thanks to augmented reality, the operator is assisted during the geometrical examination of the parts via the display of digital inspection instructions overlaid on the actual object: location, types of checks to be performed and information on defect tolerance levels. The “picking” function allows the pick-up and annotation of defects with reference to the 3D model, in order to assist in correction operations and to generate comprehensive inspection reports for traceability purposes

The Result:

  • Improvement in quality
  • Inspection and reporting made faster
  • Improvement in traceability
  • Reduction in costs associated with scrapped parts and late reworking

4. Inspection of supplier equipment on arrival

The Challenge:  How can surface defects be reliably and accurately checked and identified to ensure the quality and compliance of individual parts?

The AR Solution:  A series of digital instructions accompany the operator step by step via a tablet or hand camera to confirm the compliance of incoming equipment or tools by comparing “as manufactured” with “as designed”. The data collected (photos and defects found) are compiled in an automatically generated report.

The Result:

  • Cost-effective and efficient inspection solution
  • Guarantee of quality of parts received from suppliers
  • Elimination of risks of interruption to production and associated costs
  • Units received and recorded with photos, systematically

5. Assistance with maintenance operations

The Challenge: How can inspection times on arrival be reduced in a maintenance context, completeness of inspections and associated documentation be assured, and repair actions effectively anticipated?

The AR Solution: The inspector is guided step by step through all the control points to be checked using a tablet. Data such as photos and precise defect records (location, type) are collected and compiled in a personalized report that is automatically generated and shared with the client and the repair teams. The 3D model becomes the unique reference for everyone involved in the process.

The Result:

  • Time-saving on inspection and reporting
  • Improvement in customer satisfaction thanks to better communication
  • Inspections that are complete and repeatable
  • Traceability optimized

6. Replacing copies and templates

The Challenge:  How can the preparation time and cost of using tracers and templates in advanced industries be reduced while ensuring that assembly tasks remain reliable?

The AR Solution:  The information from the copies is digitized and projected directly onto the structure via a “digital copy”: operators can see exactly where to position elements such as Velcro, supports, resistors or structural parts.

The Result:

  • Reduction in preparation times
  • Reduction of costs of production associated with the use of copies
  • Reliability of operations, improvement in quality

7. Assistance in non-destructive testing

The Challenge:  How can the defects found in an NDT be visualized easily and accurately?

The AR Solution: Via a tabletop camera used during the inspection (in the UV room for example), the coordinates of the defects detected are recorded on the digital model. These detected defects can then be displayed again under white light or in another context via augmented reality or by projecting the control points directly onto the real structure to carry out repair actions

The Result:

  • The precise location of visualized points of non-compliance on the 3D model
  • Reduction of repair times
  • Improvement in the process of locating defects to be repaired

 

8. Assistance with painting operations

The Challenge: How can the areas to be protected be identified efficiently and accurately before the painting begins?

The AR Solution:  Using augmented reality, the areas to be masked are displayed digitally and overlaid on the product using a tabletop camera and screen or are directly projected onto the surface to guide the operator when positioning
he masking tape.

The Result:

  • Reduction in preparation times
  • Reduction of error rates

 

9. Control of industrial boiler equipment

The Challenge:  How can the compliance of complex industrial or sheet metal equipment be checked before delivery to the customer’s site?

The AR Solution: The operator displays the 3D model of the “as designed” item superimposed on the real “as built” equipment via a tablet and using augmented reality. The elements to be checked are pre-identified and the operator confirms the validity or invalidity of each element directly within the software, which collects photos, locations and comments on each defect in order to allow complete traceability of operations.

The Result:

  • Reduction of poor-quality exports
  • Time-saving and simplification of the inspection process

 

10. Inspection and preview of infrastructures

The Challenge: How can compatibility be checked, the risk of conflicts on equipment to be installed anticipated, and the correct configuration of complex infrastructures under construction confirmed?

The AR Solution:  Using a tablet or AR headset, inspectors can preview the location of future equipment in AR by superimposing simulated 3D directly on the reality of the building. Photographs including dimensions and field surveys are collected, and any possible changes in the configuration to be provided can be anticipated.

The Result:

  • Early detection of irregularities
  • Reduction in control time
  • Reduction in travel fees thanks to remote inspection capabilities

 

Discover DELMIA Augmented Reality

DELMIA Augmented Experience is a unique solution that uses augmented reality technology to improve the efficiency of industrial operations through contextualized digital data on the shop floor, assisting the operators in their assembly, inspection, and maintenance tasks.

By leveraging the virtual twin in the field, digital instructions are displayed directly in the work environment via augmented reality software, offering real-time visualization of the digital content superimposed on the real products and enabling operational data collection throughout the process.

If you would like to know more about Augmented Reality for your organization, get in touch with our team.