Technologies which were previously considered merely as powerful entertainment tools are now reshaping the industrial world in its entirety.
Immersive, augmented, virtual and mixed reality systems have grown from R&D labs to more applicable, user-friendly technologies which are embedded in many complex manufacturing systems. In fact, these technologies are now incorporated in the entire industrialisation process, from product development through to manufacturing and resource training.
Early concept design has moved from physical/digital prototypes to VR powered systems
The design process, particularly in the automotive and aerospace industry, has long been the most crucial and time consuming element of the production process. Ford and BMW, followed by other car manufacturers, have taken this to the next level by incorporating VR in the prototyping stage of the design process. Rather than investing time and resources into building a physical prototype that may not potentially work, virtual prototypes have proven to be equally powerful, fast and, importantly, inexpensive.
Upskilling the workforce with hands-on simulations
Once the product and its production process are validated, a recurring issue for most manufacturers is how to most effectively train their labour force. Training in the manufacturing industry relies on both theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience, and while coaching is usually used to close the experience gap, the training process still remains relatively inefficient. VR training, on the other hand, simulates an optimal learning environment that allows for trial and error, and is by far the most effective learning strategy.
Efficiency, efficacy and a reduced error rate using AR/VR powered manufacturing
Manufacturing leaders are often sceptical about the ROI benefits of VR/AR technologies which require siginificant initial investment and must undergo an adaptation curve. Yet, the world’s giants in the aerospace industry have gradually deployed them and seen incredible results. Boeing has successfully implemented this technology not only for training its workers but also in assembly operations and has seen siginficant results in increasing their production efficiency.
Boeing’s use of augmented reality for technicians has increased productivity by 40% and reduced wiring production time by 25%.
Some complex assembly processes demand high concentration and leave no room for error.AR/VR connected devices such as smart glasses significantly reduced the error rate and as a result improved production efficiency.
In industries where meticulous design and thorough training are a must, time and cost are usually the most affected variables. AR/VR now provide a key opportunity for leaders to improve the entire product and production lifecycle and expand into other parts of an organisation’s value chain (sales, customer experience, etc.). Companies shouldn’t wait for the broader adoption of these technologies and ought to think of them as a strategic long term competitive advantage.
Leyton has been working in partnership with companies adopting these new technologies ensuring that the investments made into innovation are as efficient as possible.
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