December 7, 2022

Blog @ Munaf Sheikh

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The Role of AR/VR: Transforming Manufacturing

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With the emergence of the fourth industrial revolution, the concept of Industry 4.0 has been introduced. It is actually the digital transformation of the manufacturing industries by the use of advanced technology like robotics, the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR).  It is also called smart factories.

Out of these advanced techs, AR and VR are forming a bridge between the physical and imaginary world of manufacturing by forming a cyber-physical system. Augmented reality and virtual reality have revolutionized the manufacturing businesses from designing the product to its delivery in the real world. According to IDC, after 2021, worldwide spending on virtual and augmented reality is expected to double each year. 

Listed below are some ways of how AR/VR is going to break from the past era of manufacturing.

Speeding Up Production

When combined with the proper data, the use of AR and VR in virtual design in addition to the simulation models can speed up the entire production chain. It can help streamline the workplace practices by allowing the team to quickly and completely analyze the whole designs, failing fast in their trials, and refining the designs at a fast rate again.

AR and VR in combination with artificial intelligence can help build closed-loop data models that can be fed into the system by themselves in case of any error, and thus, reducing the production time. Even the less experienced person can work swiftly when it comes to operating the machines or the assembly of the products without reading the long manuals with the help of a virtual interface present in front of him.

Cost-Effectiveness

A lot of money is spent in redoing the product designs, making amendments, and fixing problems. VR and AR help minimize operational and manufacturing costs by running simulations that analyze every nook and corner of the product and sometimes the whole manufacturing process. As a result, the incredible profits afterward will surely pay off the money invested in employing these technologies.

Rapid Prototyping

By improving existing product and service prototypes through the use of whole new methodologies, VR and AR can make a significant difference. The testing and planning are made easier and faster on the virtual models of the products as compared to the actual real-world products.

For example, automotive manufacturers are already leveraging virtual reality to reduce the time taken between designing the initial prototype and launching the physical model from weeks to only a few days.

Error Free Production

Sometimes checking the manual might be hectic, so the manufacturer assumes the next step.  However, he might be wrong in his assumption and ends up ruining the whole plan. The manufacturers may need to restart the whole process due to the mistake of one employee. In this case, there’s this option of putting a virtual layer on top of the “reality” in many kinds of manufacturing and industry environments, using devices like AR/VR glasses/viewers to avoid any human error.

Better Interaction Among the Manufacturers

Network-based communication between products, manufacturers, and the means of production is possible through VR and AR by connecting these virtually in the real world. By using augmented reality, the engineers can monitor the manufacturers remotely and guide them without being physically present at the site.

People in service, factory workers, and logistics workers may do a better job if the information they need is in front of them. They can manipulate the information using their brain and implement it using their hands.

Better Customer Experience

AR/VR models are actually customer-centered models providing complete quality control and customization according to the requirements of the users, thereby enhancing customer experience. Through the 360 degrees content view, VR helps in a better product display for the customers. 

For example, smart cities and smart cars are making use of augmented and virtual reality to let the customers visualize and virtually experience the whole infrastructure through real-time information. Geographical physical location is no longer a barrier for such manufacturing projects.

Save Human Resources

Human labor is an important factor of the industry. Industries demand manpower both physically and mentally. With the revolution in industries, this demand has increased. There is a lack of a skilled labor force or workers’ skills need to be polished with some practice. For this purpose, specialists have to give up on their work and teach the new employees.

AR has made it possible to train the new employees without a specialist and fulfill the shortage of man labor. They can be guided by already stored instructions on the virtual layer formed by acclimatization of the real world according to the labor’s needs.

Workplace Safety

Hazards and injury rates are more common in the manufacturing industry. Virtual reality ensures workplace safety by letting the manufacturers analyze the decisions in a 3D virtual world before implementing them in the real world. In the case of machine-related injuries in factories, VR and AR can help ensure the worker’s safety by guiding him to safe use and minimizing accidents.

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