Aug. 05, 2021

Industry 4.0: augment your reality, regardless the size of your plant!

  • Article
  • augmented reality
  • AR
  • Industry 4.0

In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, businesses want to perform their digital transformation under optimal conditions.

  1. 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 life cycle. It’s also flexible in that it evolves with the plant’s maintenance and operational procedures.

    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 (maintenance procedure or equipment shutdown).

    AR is supported by using a device like a smart phone, a tablet or AR glasses (e.g., HoloLens).

    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.

  2. 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 or even a video procedure for equipment maintenance. 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 tandem with already existing standard systems, which is a major advantage in the industrial field. The risks associated with using AR are low: if the wireless connection is temporarily interrupted, 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 travel or communicate with the control centre.

    Improving health and safety

    Serious accidents remain an unfortunate fact of life in industry. With AR, your employees are now notified in real time about assets, communicate more easily and minimize their travel by having everything at their fingertips. AR becomes an ally in achieving your health and safety objectives.

    Immediate returns on investment

    Implementing AR is a manageable and scalable solution: 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, incorporating AR into daily tasks 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.

    Conclusion

    It’s essential to think carefully about the advantages and disadvantages of adopting advanced technological solutions when modernizing a plant. And it’s 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 may also be interested in our blog article about the benefits of using virtual reality (VR) in engineering.

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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