Industry 4.0: Augment Your Reality, Regardless the Size of Your Plant!

27 March, 2019 | Blog

In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, businesses want to make their digital transformation under optimal conditions. Before modernizing your plant, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I increase my competitiveness?
  • What technological changes will help me get the best return on my investment?
  • How can I improve my operational processes and minimize incidents?
  • How can I access real-time information?

Augmented reality (AR) is the ultimate, inexpensive innovation to optimize the performance of your plant at each step of its lifecycle. Each project can be customized to your specific needs, regardless the size of your business! It is a technology that has many benefits.

What is augmented reality?

AR is a cutting-edge technology that combines the real world and the virtual world by superimposing a computer-generated image onto a real image captured through the lens of a device. This can take the form of a 2D or 3D image, a document (guide, procedure or report), real-time information (machine temperature, flow, power consumption) or even a video.

AR is supported by using a device like a smart phone, a tablet or a computer equipped with a webcam, or a camera sensor and an application.

Markers are essential for generating content. They are visual cues detected by the device to perform an action. They can be a symbol, an image, a logo, text or a nameplate.

An innovative business solution!

Instinctively, we ask: how can a custom solution be inexpensive while meeting my current and future business needs?

At BBA, we know that installing new technology can be a major challenge for some businesses. We believe that AR is a solution that offers many benefits, at low risk.

Often enough, businesses that have transitioned to Industry 4.0 say that they only start seeing results in the second year, sometimes even later. But with an AR interface, the benefits can be seen right away!

This is a concrete example of AR in a plant’s operations.

 Augmented Reality

AR offers an unlimited variety of interfaces and integration options: a real-world marker, based on text recognition, enables you to link: real-time information about equipment and alarm status, a maintenance manual, a graphic or web interface or a PDF document. Recent advances in artificial intelligence have led to new text recognition techniques that offer reliable and powerful applications.

One of the most interesting technical characteristics of AR is that it works in parallel with older standard systems, which is not the case for many new technologies. The risks associated with using AR are low: the worst case scenario, in the event of a temporary interruption of a wireless connection, is the status quo, where your system continues to operate independently of the interface.  

Toward better productivity

Being notified in real time of asset downtime helps make decisions and act quickly to restart production as soon as possible. Remote control is also possible. Additionally, having access to an asset’s real-time information makes it easier to maintain. Operators can now access to the status of equipment, its maintenance reports, its maintenance plan and other information right from their mobile device, without having to move.

Improved health and safety

Unfortunately, serious accidents continue to occur in the industrial sector. With AR, your employees are now notified in real time about assets. They communicate more easily and limit movement by having everything on hand. Maintenance in a hostile environment is also limited. AR becomes an ally in achieving your health and safety objectives.

An immediate return on investment

AR is a changing solution that is easy to handle: user-friendly, it takes the entire process into account, from creating the marker to its recognition in an industrial environment. Most assets can be linked to the solution with minimal investment. The items to view on the interface are managed internally and it only takes a few hours of training to learn how to use it.

Digitalization and motivation at work

In a context where hiring new motivated employees is a real challenge, having an AR interface is a competitive advantage. Providing this technology to employees helps free them from certain redundant and repetitive tasks. As a result, they can dedicate their efforts to value-added activities.

In conclusion

It is essential to think carefully about the advantages and disadvantages of adopting advanced technological solutions when modernizing a plant. It is just as important to ask yourself the following question: what are the consequences if I opt for the status quo? Seeing as how fast AR is becoming a requirement, it will come as no surprise how quickly it will develop into an industry standard.

You might also be interested in our blog about the benefits of using virtual reality (VR) in engineering.

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