Augmented Reality Changing Manufacturing Forever

Manufacturing and the shop floor are undergoing a radical evolution. A popular game, PokemonGo, is pushing adoption and understanding of augmented reality AR for fun. Manufacturing is about to explode with augmented reality programs that will change business forever.By now most are aware of how 3-D printing is changing manufacturing.  It’s simple to produce anything from plastic parts to structural Titanium based jet engine components. Getting from design to actual physical product has never been easier.  Augmented Reality (AR) is equally pushing a new frontier for manufacturing.Some of the most important innovations changing the manufacturing floor have to do with the availability of new data and what has been called the “Real Word Web”.  Sensors are becoming ubiquitous. Big data analytics and networks moving information everywhere have come together to empower a new data layer to make reality more interesting. Equipment can communicate to humans and to other equipment.  This is the groundwork for the next evolution in manufacturing: Augmented Reality.PTC is one of the leaders in this space with its Vuforia platform. The Start Exchange had the opportunity to visit them recently and understand how intelligence coming from shop floor equipment can not only send alerts that parts are wearing out, but can order the parts and teach a human how to install them on the fly.

Efficiency is the Game

The mixing of the physical world with a digital information layer is opening up a new set of products. Ultimately AR will dramatically change processes within the enterprise.  Imagine the efficiency when machinery can proactively order replacement parts.  Down time is kept at a minimum.  Training takes on a much different time and cost structure when a person can walk up to a machine, view how it works and understand how to fix it just when they need to know. Training manuals will be layered visual and sound information.

Who’s leading the pack?

PTC with Vuforia is known as the leader but they are quickly being followed by Apple’s Metaio, which had the second largest market share of AR after Vuforia.  Google recently invested in Magic Leap and, Microsoft announced Hololens.  The big guys are getting in because this is going to be the way of the future of manufacturing.

While there are plenty of companies building special head set equipment to use AR and Virtual reality, turns out we can use our phones and tablets very efficiently to use AR now. Tablets are leading the way for the first implementations in manufacturing including ship building and other industrial areas.

The Innovation Scout will help you understand how augmented reality will change your business.  We will connect you to the best startups leading in augmented reality and help you to implement programs to take advantage of AR before you miss the revolution.

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