Augmented reality (AR) started life in the entertainment sector, but can it be deployed in the manufacturing world to truly add value? We all love the idea of putting on a virtual reality (VR) headset and being transported to another world, or finding ourselves courtside at a basketball game, but are these tools viable in a factory setting and particularly on a surface mount technology (SMT) line?
Aegis Software think so. At APEX 2019 in San Diego last month, they launched their FactoryOptix system to move work instructions, currently used within their FactoryLogix software suite, from on-screen to a VR display. Aegis were at the vanguard of replacing paper work instructions with on screen instructions, so this seems a natural evolution, particularly when the operator needs to use their hands elsewhere or cannot easily view a monitor whilst working. Rehm too have been using VR for machine maintenance with a remote link, allowing less skilled operators to be supported by technical support staff at Rehm HQ. Both companies use VR headsets and voice recognition in their systems.
In a world where personal digital assistants like Alexa are becoming ubiquitous it seems only natural that we will adopt more hands-free communication styles, both visually and verbally, for our work environment.
With two real-world success stories, Markus Mittermair, head of Software Development at REHM Thermal Systems LLC and Jason Spera, chief executive officer of Aegis Software share their vision of the use of AR and VR on the factory floor with me during a debate in our studio on the APEX show floor.
Filmed on location in San Diego at the SCOOP studio with sponsorship of Aegis Software, Cogiscan, Creative Electron, Fuji America, KIC and Koh Young Technology.