Why manufacturing can fully realise the potential of AR

Augmented Reality has been around for a while but it’s about to take off in a big way according to IDC.

So much so, that worldwide spending on AR and VR was suggested to be $18.8 billion in 2020, a 78.5% increase from 2019’s spending forecast. This rise in adoption is not just from consumers. AR is emerging as an invaluable tool for industries such as manufacturing, helping businesses increase efficiency, deliver training and reduce supply chain risk.  

Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail.  

As manufacturers continue to see an increased demand for products, they must turn to new technologies to streamline their processes. For example, the aviation industry alone is expected to build approximately 37,000 new aircraft in the next twenty years. In order to meet this need, manufacturers must cut down on operating costs and optimise current practices. However, in manufacturing a major obstacle that businesses contend with is unplanned machine downtime. An issue which according to a study by Deloitte reportedly costs manufacturers in excess of $50 billion a year. The cost of this issue means that reducing machine failure is the main concern for manufacturing companies who are under pressure to see an improved return on investments (ROI) and instil a proactive approach to machine maintenance.  

Take ARms 

AR is a frontrunner to help minimise machine downtime and streamline the supply chain process. For instance, when engineers need to communicate with off-site experts to maintain machinery, on-screen 3D annotations can be used to direct less experienced technicians. This is a crucial aspect of AR as it can help to address any skill gap deficits being experienced. Being able to access the knowledge of an expert technician to support in-house or field technicians decreases the amount of time needed to repair machines and get them back up and running. The technology is also being used as an invaluable training tool, allowing manufacturers to assess and maintain more stringent levels of quality control, as well as developing talented engineers.  

Furthermore, AR can help in more recent developments such as the proactive maintenance process. Using advanced analytics, manufacturers can identify potential errors and use remote experts and AR annotated displays to guide on-the-ground workers to fix problems before they become a major threat to the manufacturing line. Being able to identify issues early is key in preventing machine downtime and prolongs lifespans which both assist in reducing costs.   

Sustaining success  

As the demand for cost-saving processes increases, the ability to connect and collaborate with experts remotely will be invaluable. AR fuels collaboration, enabling shorter communication chains with experts, encouraging greater efficiency to troubleshoot issues and fixing complex machinery, that will avoid severe disruption.  

AR has already started to have a significant impact on the manufacturing industry and should have even more influence as understanding of the technology grows. It is no longer being overlooked, but being embraced as a crucial tool that will drive growth and efficiency within the manufacturing sector. Going forward businesses across all industries will begin to depend on AR-enabled technologies to solve day-to-day problems by enhancing workplace collaboration, streamlining processes and driving collaboration, regardless of location. 

About the Author

Andreas Haizmann is Senior Manager, Product Management at TeamViewer. TeamViewer offers secure remote access, support, control, and collaboration capabilities for online endpoints of any kind. By innovating with cutting-edge yet easy-to-deploy Augmented Reality (AR) and Internet of Things (IoT) implementations, the company enables businesses of all sizes to tap into their full digital potential.

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