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Augmented reality: application in industrial plants

Technology plays a fundamental role in all people’s lives today. Although there are those who do not use smartphones and GPS every day, they are also influenced in some way all the time.

Because of the modernization of industrial plants, managers must increasingly seek new alternatives to keep attracting customers and keep their production process up to date.

In an industry 4.0 context, using augmented reality can be quite useful. After all, a technology that promises to revolutionize the way people interact with physical and virtual spaces has everything to do with the proposal of industry 4.0 to constantly promote innovation.

In a few words, augmented reality is a real-world link to the virtual world, which becomes possible through the use of a physical world marker (such as a webcam or smartphone). It is also important to have a geolocation system so that the interaction of the physical with the virtual world is as real as possible.

Are you interested in understanding more about augmented reality and knowing some industrial applications that can be used? In this article you will understand better about it!

AUGMENTED REALITY X VIRTUAL REALITY

These two concepts are widely known as promises of innovation in communication and entertainment, and often considered as one single thing. But this is wrong. Each of these technologies is different and they are used in different ways, which can be complementary.

Virtual reality is about a digital world. This technology happens when real images are replaced by content generated by a computer. In a way, it is a “false” environment, but it can become interactive as the users move their hands, even being able to manipulate objects.

The augmented reality, on the other hand, is about the real world. It is a technology that enables objects, information, and graphics to be overlaid in a specific location. For augmented to happen correctly, there must be an interaction between the real world, and the new information projected in the location in question. A great example of augmented reality is the “Pokémon Go” game released in 2016, which, based on the player’s location, creates a virtual world on the screen of the mobile. So it is possible that even when people are “trapped” in the physical world, they have an interaction with a virtual world through a mobile device.

HOW TO USE AUGMENTED REALITY

Augmented reality can be used in various areas and for different objectives. From games and entertainment environments to projections in health procedures and industrial machinery.

This technology can, for example, assist in factory floor audits, make equipment maintenance more agile and simplify car manufacturing processes.

There are cases in which an augmented reality was developed for one purpose, but ended up being used for another. That’s what happened with Microsoft’s Kinect. It was first released as part of the Xbox video game console. However, the technology used (infrared sensors to scan the environment) was very well accepted by scientists and researchers who use Kinect as a research tool today.

APPLICATION OF AUGMENTED REALITY IN INDUSTRIES

Considering an industrial scenario, it is possible to imagine applications of augmented reality when thinking about productive processes with different types of machinery and variables that connect to each other.

In this sense, it is important that there is System Integration involved in the production line, to ensure maximization of results.

Mechanics, electricians and operators, as well as their managers who are responsible for efficient processes assurance, would benefit greatly from having access to a 360-degree engine projection, right? Thus it would be possible to evaluate problems and carry out preventive audits.

Using augmented reality applications and accessories for viewing data available through the Internet of Things (IoT), employees can use cameras at specific points on a machine to reveal real-time data of aspects such as humidity, temperature, and so on.

In addition to these examples, we bring below some real AR applications in industries that rely on technology as part of their processes.

EXAMPLES OF AUGMENTED REALITY USE:

Tetra Pak is a leading manufacturer of food and beverage packaging equipment and has used Microsoft’s virtual and augmented mixed-media glasses (Hololens) in its production line to conduct consultations or possible interventions in the processes remotely, but as if the people involved were at the place.

With the technology, it is possible to visualize a machine that has problems and to assist the employee responsible for its operation to perform the repairs needed. The results are positive and it is possible to see a reduction of machinery downtime, as well as increased productivity.

Another example is Ford, which uses the same Microsoft Hololens glasses to carry out car development in distant factories. With the glasses, prototypes that needed to be made in clay, and real sized, are no longer necessary since it is possible to observe the pieces “live”.

Still within the automotive industry, Toyota also uses Hololens technology to optimize processes that would have been done in 8 hours by 2 employees, and that now can be completed by only 1 person in 4 working hours.

4 BENEFITS OF USING AUGMENTED REALITY IN INDUSTRIES:

In summary, you can clearly see some benefits of using AR in industries. They are:

1. Audit at inspection routes

2. Preventive Maintenance

3. Optimization of the production line

4. Productivity Growth

TENDENCIES OF AUGMENTED REALITY AND VIRTUAL REALITY IN THE INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENT

1. Development of protocols and universal structures

As technology will be more and more modernized, industries will need to create universal protocols to ensure that augmented reality will be used accordingly to corporate safety and ethics standards.

2. Department of after sales services

With the implementation of augmented reality and virtual reality, it will be possible to have a completely different relationship with clients from what exists today.

Some industries already include “extra” information of their production processes, and quality of production in QR Codes in the packaging, for example.

However, a major tendency is that with the popularization of AR and VR glasses, customers can interact more and more with the product they have purchased.

3. The development of augmented reality will boost virtual reality

Some people say that VR technology is about games and indoor environments because it cannot be used in any other way.

Well. When one of the technologies actually enters the industrial environments and reaches the end consumer, just as it happened with cell phones, the other one tends to grow exponentially.

Thus, the experience that people will have with the technologies will be unlimited.

CONCLUSION

Are you already willing to live this whole technology in the daily routines of the industries and consumers of products?

In fact augmented reality has a lot to grow, and industrial applications can be the great opportunity for this development. It is already possible to imagine how much a productive process can benefit from this type of technology.

Are you already working with augmented reality or is it on your team’s plans?

Share your experience in the comments section below!

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