Industrial 4.0 | The Future of the Factories and How VR/AR will contribute to the Automation & Digitization

Industrial 4.0 | The Future of the Factories and How VR/AR will contribute to the Automation & Digitization

AR/VR is advancing the manufacturing sector. Whether it's training, troubleshooting, maintenance, emergency repairs, or remote operations, AR/VR has become the first choice.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution and it influences every manufacturing domain and drives the advanced manufacturing technologies that capture, optimize & deploy data. Such technologies make the industry "smart" and innovative technologies like IIoT, AI & Cyber-physical systems interacting, communicating & adjusting seamlessly.  

Augmented & Virtual Reality:

AR/VR is advancing the manufacturing sector. Whether it's training, troubleshooting, maintenance , emergency repairs or remote operations, AR/VR has become the first choice.

For instance, to mitigate the industrial risks and automating the hands-on work, the industrial team can use the AR-VR devices and softwares to get better practical experience on how to operate the equipment or perform the following process in the controlled environment. And now the AR/VR has advanced beyond the sight to include the sound & touch, and further research is extended towards the smell & taste.

AR is using the mainly displays, cameras, various types of sensors or the softwares to augment the filters which are some of the real world's virtual experience. Pokemon Go or Snapchat filters are some of the examples of popular AR applications in the consumer world. However, the early stages of the AR revolution has seen the explosion of AR startups, AR has attracted a lot of attention from the VCs(Virtual Capital), and has experienced a lot of investments in the last few years in terms of enterprise, commercial or the industrial sector. For instance , the AR got the funding of the $859 million from the Virtual Capital.

The  concept of the AR was used initially for the Aviation industry, where they provide pilots with the key flight instrument data. After that, the technology has shifted to the other sector for the usability of AR.  

AR is being used in the rear view cameras in the cars to help the drivers back up & park. Most backup cars add the visual markers on to the monitor to indicate where the car is heading. And most of the AR has been popularized by the gaming sites such Pokemon Go.  

Driving the Effective Workforce:

With remote augmented communication and augmented operations, AR's ability to merge the physical and virtual world and create the natural image where AR can help address the disrupting skills gap by quickly and effectively training the new workers.

The AR companies had offered the tools to create its own augmented training procedures. While simple training tasks like how to wear the equipements, and recording all their steps with the voice instructions. This recorded task would be helpful for trainees to reuse the same program again. But this, the AR is very helpful in creating the interactive training sessions for the employees in the manufacturing industry.

Foreign Machines:

The most critical issue comes when the machine is high-tech with its best features, but the employees don't know how to operate it. So here AR comes in rescue for the workers who are not familiar with the language & technically skilled, the AR can teach them through the interactive virtual machine where they can learn step by step.

Remote Surveying & Inspection:

AR gives the virtual solutions which can be accessed both physical and remotely. Hence, the remote surveying & inspection abate the cost of the transportation revenue. Inspections are often done by the remote Drones or any other technological tool to determine the safety or status of the equipment, materials and infractures.

Train for the Emergency Hazards :

In the industries, safety is the utmost priority where operators and control engineers need to be prepared for the uncalled or unwanted situations like chemical leakage or explosion. Or situations which happen once a year like shutdown or startup. In discrete manufacturing, the operators need to be ready for the product changeovers, emergency situations and equipment upgrades where quick action is needed to alleviate & prevent the hazardous damage to the personnel or infrastructure.

Mitigating Errors:

Smart glasses can overlay the precise instruction on the site area & accurately guide the technician through each process. This AR technology will eliminate the delays, surge the comfort & ease in the collaboration, & optimize the workforce management. Virtual reality creates the immersive experiences with the imitating experiences with the virtual train on a site, unit or plant under construction without having to send any technical person to teach the staff.

Designing of Product:

When it comes to designing the product, safety remains a prime concern in the use of VR technology which can make "Safety" an utmost priority. If we see the automotive industry, the 3D models can help the manufactures understand the before-product working, to know the vehicle performance in real. VR can also visualize how the distinctive parts of the product will look together. Likewise, VR technology can proliferate the efficiency of the wind turbines & solar powers plants. The process of the solving the problem from offsite is made easier. The new technology termed "Digital Twin Technology" was initiated to create a replica of the entire solar power plants, this technology will reduce the downtime in result maximized production.  In North America, the digital twin technology has been able to boost the 15,000 wind turbines digitally.