How VR and AR Can Help Keep Engineers Safe and Manufacturing Strong

Posted: Updated:

The 2018 Indiana Manufacturing Survey, published by accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller, found that 91 percent of Hoosier manufacturers expected to see increases in revenue in 2018. After years of uncertainty, the local manufacturing industry remains a competitive force in the state, in part because of the availability of smart, connected and often automated technology. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are no exception, and the application of these technologies will become vital to the growth of the industry.

Virtual and augmented reality are making near-perfect assembly achievable. AR glasses that use cameras, depth sensors and motion sensors to overlay images onto the real working environment enable engineers and line workers to visualize everything from parts, part numbers and assembly instructions that can increase speed and efficiency. Lockheed Martin recently began using AR goggles, improving F-35 assembly time by 30 percent and increasing accuracy to 96 percent.

VR and AR not only improves efficiency and supply chain productivity, it creates a competitive advantage. According to a recent Bank of America Merrill Lynch research report, AR platforms can provide companies up to 25 percent in cost savings on installation of equipment. 

AR/VR is disrupting the mid-market manufacturing space, and Indiana manufacturers should take note.

Hands-free mobility: The manufacturing sector has long been a hands-on, labor-intensive industry, but reducing the need for hand-held devices would streamline work productivity. VR glasses powered by voice and gesture commands would allow users to see, hear and work with holograms within an environment, offering real-time assistance for factory or field work.

Talking Parts: AR and Internet of Things (IoT) technology will allow manufacturing systems to self-diagnose and report deficiencies. Instead of trying to guess why a particular part is malfunctioning, the part itself can be programmed to communicate whether it is operating correctly and even what could happen if it goes unrepaired.

Safety: VR can simulate various production processes and factory configurations, allowing users to identify potentially hazardous conditions and make pre-production adjustments. By using VR to help plan assembly lines, Ford Motor Company successfully reduced employee injuries by 70 percent in 2015.

User Experience: VR and AR can also help create better products for consumers. The technology allows engineers and designers to interact with and test their designs before moving to production, reducing the need for product recalls and resulting in safer, more desirable products. 

Together with other innovation accelerators, AR/VR will help drive efficiencies, promote safety, increase productivity and change how products are manufactured and delivered. This disruption is already underway, and it’s up to Hoosier manufacturers to tap into AR/VR technology to support the growth and sustainability of this key sector in our economy.

Andy Crask is Indianapolis market president for Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

  • Perspectives

    • Startup Spirit Fuels Growth

      As the South Bend - Elkhart Region celebrates a $42.4 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., we know that the work to make the best investment with it is really just beginning. The spirit of entrepreneurship has been a vibrant part of our region for decades and the story of our family company could be somewhat of a guidebook for the region as it ventures forward. ITAMCO began as a dream of my uncle Donald Neidig and my father Noble Neidig to have their own business.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • The Waterside project aims to transform 100-acres of the former GM Stamping Plant site. (photo courtesy of Ambrose Property Group)

      Ambrose, Glick Partner on Waterside

      Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group has announced a key partnership for the redevelopment of the former GM Stamping Plant in downtown Indianapolis. The commercial real estate firm is teaming up with the Gene B. Glick Co. to build and manage apartments as part of the $1.4 billion mixed-use redevelopment project. Ambrose says the partnership is also part of plans to catalyze "philanthropic and community-centric strategies to strengthen Indianapolis." The firm also...

    • NIBCO is headquartered in Elkhart. (photo courtesy of NIBCO)

      Companies Detail Closures, Layoffs

      Four companies have announced plans to lay off a total of nearly 300 employees. In separate notices filed with the state, the companies say the moves will affect workers in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Charlestown and Peru.

    • (Rendering provided by the city of Fishers.)

      Flexware to Break Ground on Headquarters

      Fisher’s based engineering servicing firm, Flexware Innovation Inc., will break ground Thursday on its new headquarters the Nickel Plate District Amphitheater. The $3.5 million project will feature a 35,000-square-foot office building with 12,000-square feet of office space for Flexware and what it calls “a build-to-suit area” in the remaining space. 

    • (rendering courtesy of Brightmark Energy)

      Construction to Begin on Plastics-to-Fuel Plant

      California-based Brightmark Energy will today break ground on its $260 million plastics-to-fuel plant in the northeast Indiana town of Ashley. The 112,000-square-foot facility, which the company says will be the first of its kind in the nation, is expected to create 136 full-time jobs when fully operational. The plant will use a state-of-the-art process to recycle plastic waste that has reached the end of its useful life, including items that normally cannot be recycled, such as...

    • Photo courtesy of Lafayette Elementary School

      Hammond to Close Three Schools, to Cut Jobs

      The  School City of Hammond board has voted to close three schools and cut 130-150 positions. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report Columbia and Lafayette Elementary schools, and the Miller School will close after this school year.