Afterdefining how Augmented Reality can impact the NPD process, it is important toidentify how effective this technology is in manufacturing. Consequently,during this section the 3rd Research Question “How effective is AR in manufacturing?” will be analyzed. To adequately evaluate the efficiency,the advantages are going to becompared to the challenges.
During the literature review several units could beidentified where AR has positive implications, namely Product Design &Prototyping, Production Planning & Organisation, Production, consisting ofAssembly and Training, Maintenance and finally its positive impact on generalcosts and the level of productivity. On contrary possible challenges will bepresented to identify what subjects still hinder the market wideimplementation, that include Technological Challenges, Social Acceptance &Information Overload and Privacy Issues. Figure 12: The advantages and disadvantages of AR onmanufacturing according to the literature review, own development (2018) 1.1.1.
The advtanteges ofaugmented reality in manufacturing ProductDesign & Prototyping During the design phase, meaning the process of creating and/orimproving a product (Cambridge Dictonary n.d.) computer aided design systemsknown as CAD play a major role for the visualisation of product designs, butare limited as no 3D interaction can be achieved and are bound to the computerscreen (Togay & Sahin 2015, p. 115). On a contrary, AR can provide theopportunity to seamlessly superimpose visual and digital data in form of 3Dmodels onto a physical product and the real environment, which benefits thedesigner in many ways as designing is extricated from traditional procedures.For instance, as the detailed models can give an insight on the future productin reality, a clear and structured view of the functionality can be promotedwhich allows the designer to receive early feedback and the possibility tocreate estimations due to data storing.
Feedback can include how a future productcan be used over time, the look and feel of a future product; its ergonomicsand simply the designer can see what product he is currently working on – fromany location and at any time. Consequently, this ‘early-warning system’ allowsthe designer to easily make modifications, not having to create multiplenumbers of prototypes hereby saving costs and time and the ability to conductearly stage improvements and foster product optimization (Lynch n.d. and Rudeck2017 and McClintock n.d.). V. Elefteriu (personalcommunication, 14 December 2017) from BrainLAB also identifies the virtualvisualisation through 3D models especially advantageous in the medical area, asit improves and simplifies the work performed by a surgeon.
Implying that themodels can act as substitute for the surgeon’s imagination consequently allowingthe surgeon to fully concentrate on performing his work without having toimagine 3D tumour structures and where exactly he has to perform the incisionon the human body. But also E. Bauer (personal communication,16 December 2017)from KARE design sees an advantage of AR in product design, as furniture’s canbe designed and marketed in a new and innovative way when using 3D models,which is profitable at point-of-sale as customers can actually ‘place’ thepotential furniture into the room before they purchase the item, leading to anincrease sales and a decrease in return rates. N. Ilmberger (personalcommunication 20 December 2017) of UTUM supports this view, as he also believesthat AR can be used to present and consequently market a products design in amore innovative way. As an example he mentions that a tool producer could makea construction market more perceptible by providing AR to test a tool thecustomer wants to purchase, for instance using a virtual saw to fell a tree.
ProductionPlanning & OrganizationProduction planning and design that is executed manually requires a morecomplex organization, as not only technical factors have to be considered butmoreover economic and human components. Again, AR can work as an interface byvirtually creating planning objects and tasks that can be overlayed onto the futurephysical production environment. As a result, the planning process can be validated without having to modeland change the actual physical organization. Further, the quality of planningresults can be improved hereby reducing the risk of having to replan and redesignactivities, which are very time-consuming and cost intense.
Anothercost-reducing feature is the decreased risk of faulty layouts and errors due tothe possibility of creating step-by-step visuals (Funk 2015). Finally, the actual production line can be improved in terms ofprogression and location. To be more precise AR can help to sufficientlysituate the production cells, assembly workers and robots as well as theautomation lines.
Consequently, efficiency and productivity is maximized whilstinventory can be reduced (Kapoor 2016). Production The production phase can be divided up into two sections, namely the ‘assembly’ that is powered by tools and ‘trainings & instructions’ that ispowered by people, which are required to conduct the assembly task. In the pastworkers needed long hours to complete an assembly part with manual tools.First, when Henry Ford introduced the concept of mass production, output andefficiency increased. Today, assembly tasks are mostly automated with someareas still dependent on live staff (The Economist 2009). Now, AR can foster machine and mancollaboration by supporting and improving the production phase (Geissbauer etal. 2017, p. 28).
As Neil Gupta, founder Boston Augmented Reality states “ARwill be the interface for humans to take part in the digital conversation thatmachines are having on manufacturing floors.” (as cited in n.d. 2017) AssemblyWhen looking at the assembly of products and services, AR can providethe right information at the right place and time – on-demand. This isparticularly advantageous for factory workers during assembly, as vital datafor monitoring and diagnostics for each process or machine needed during amanufacturing process can be captured and stored. So for instance one is ableto extract the degree of efficiency to be able to enhance productivity levelsbut also quickly identify and locate problems, which could uphold development.In short, AR offers the advanced ability to help employees correct and identifyissues before they even erupt, again acting as an early warning system due toreal-time data streaming and capturing that can increase awareness and fosterthe cooperation between workers (Porter & Heppelmann 2017).V.
Elefteriu (personal communication, 14 December 2017) supports thisview as he also describes AR as being a warning system that leads to increasedsecurity. But also can enhance work to be performed as tasks can be simplifiedand therefore act timesaving. K.
Ingman (personal communication, 08 December2017) claims that processes can be made more transparent and understandablewhich has a positive effect on production times. Training& Simulations A vitalpart of the manufacturing process is the conduction of trainings and providingadequate instructions along the entire production life cycle. For instance, thecompany can prepare written instructions and manuals but these require anextensive amount of time to work through which can be tiresome and demotivatingfor employees. Further they could make use of training videos.
This type oftraining can be more effective as they can be simply designed with interestingcontents to catch the watchers attention. In both cases though no interactivecharacteristics are included and tailored to individual learning needs. Thiscould be tackled by conducting personal trainings that would enhance theconcept of ‘learning by doing’ but are very expensive if an externalprofessional is hired and are time and location bound. In all cases, the risksof real life scenarios are not included, which makes these types of trainingstoo theoretical and the trainee does not learn how to handle emergencysituations. AR training programs can address all mentioned complications. Itprovides real-time and on demand training opportunities, which one can accessfrom any location (Porter & Heppelmann 2017).
Trainings can be conducted byoverlaying instructions onto for instance a screen or headset with visualinformation such as a voiceover and text display (Towerfast n.d.) or rehearsedifficult or dangerous scenarios without the risks of real-world consequencesthat can be repeated indefinitely. The received data can be stored andconsequently tailored to individual needs to optimize trainings (Porter &Heppelmann 2017). As aresult, AR can improve productivity and quality, as production steps areexplained during assembly and therefore can be completed quicker.
Further,internal resources can be exploited ergo the amount of time needed to instruct a worker can be decreased and errors reduced (Kunkel et al.2016, p. 23).
Figure 13: Top 3 areas of interest for using AR,source: Tandulwadikar in the Cognizant report, self-developed illustration(2018) Tounderline the benefits mentioned above, a survey conducted by tech pro researchwith 205 IT-experts (as cited in Tandulwadikar et al. 2016, p. 4) claims that thetop three areas in which AR is going to be used in enterprises, is simulationexcercises and employee testing and training. MaintenanceMaintenanceneeds to be completed on a timely basis and as accurate as possible to decreasethe total amount and duration of downtimes.
AR canhereby replace hard copy and monitor-based instructions by acting as an aid forthe mechanics view when he is servicing complex manufacturing components byproviding detailed and accurate digital guidance, real-time updates anddiagnostics from sensors that are connected to ‘IoT’ for instance on a ARheadset. The ability of real-time data streaming allows displaying safetywarnings and errors, which can have a positive effect on defect rates that canenhance efficiency and consequently improve productivity as the relevant datacan be extracted to help workers understand and solve in maintenance issuesfast (Keenan n.d. and Porter & Heppelmann 2017). Further it can promote”remote-support” – off-site maintenance, as experts can log on and help thetechnician – independent of place and time.
This enables manufacturers to workquicker and more accurate, which leads to time saving performance and costreduction as downtimes are reduced as tasks can be completed even withinexperienced workers. N. Ilmberger (personal communication, 20 December 2017)gives an example for this case: For instance, a customer bought 100 Hololensesfor its service employees. As they have production facilities all over theworld, the expert would have to fly over to each production facility ifmachinery breaks down. With having Hololens in place, the expert can justconnect online with the service employee without having to fly there whichdecreases the amount of costs. Also L (personal communication, 13 December2017) from the pharmaceutical industry use AR glasses for maintenance purposes.
Here the user will receive a short and simple introduction, which consists ofhow you turn on glasses, how to start the app and authenticate yourself and howyou can start the support call. Costs and time can be reduced as problems canbe identified early and solved quickly. So to summarize the information above, AR can increase productivity andquality whilst reducing costs. First, data on how the assembly part should look like (assembly andtraining) or how the component shall be repaired (maintenance) can be overlayedonto the real product, which will boost workers’ productivity as for instance step by step instructions can beoverlayed onto the assembly task with no need of prior training. Consequently,workers become more efficient and skilled (NES Global Talent 2016 and PerkinsCoie LLP 2016 and Tandulwadikaret al. 2016, p.
5 and Abraham/Annunziata 2017) Second, through identifyingdeviations in an early stage, the qualitycontrol of AR can provide more accurate results and prevent any furtherexpenses and save incalculable losses that would be implied if a maliciousproduct launches the market. Third, when productiondowntimes are reduced, by repairing components on a timely basis, costs can be reduced and productionnumbers increased. So in total the quality of the final product increases, theentire manufacturing process, maintenance and the qualifications of employees rises(Perkins Coie LLP 2016 Tandulwadikar et al. 2016, p. 5) In short, this technology is based on assisting workers (NES GlobalTalent 2016), not replacing them, thus have the potential to yield both moreeconomic growth and better jobs (Abraham/Annunziata 2017)Both D. Götze (personalcommunication, 18 December 2017) from ESG GmbH and K. Ingman (personalcommunication, 08 December 2017) support this statement when asked whatadvantages AR brings.
According to them amongst others, AR can save costs andtime. 4.4.2 The Challenges of Augmented Reality in Manufacturing Every technology faceschallenges and AR is no exception. Even though the technology has come a longway, there are several limitations that have to be addressed for thistechnology to become an established product (aboutaugmentedrealiy n.
d. and theMission 2017). According to the literature review, these include technologicalchallenges, social acceptance and privacy issues that will be discussed andanalysed in the following section.TechnologicalChallengesFirst,data is still not rendered across theusers’ entire scope of vision. Instead of allowing the human brain’s intuitivelocalization sense to portray the augmented world as being part of the realworld, the user will tend scan the surrounding unnaturally, as if lookingthrough a periscope, to see where AR contents are located, as one is not ableto capture the entire scope of augmented contents. Ergo, to achieve anacceptable level of engagement, the augmented data needs to be able toseamlessly overlay onto the physical world (Krevelen & Poelman 2010, p.
14-15). V. Elefteriu (personalcommunication, 14 December 2017) from BrainLAB supports this statement, as healso identifies the visualization of AR being a general limitation. He implies,that the resolution and the field of view of augmented contents are still tosome extent undeveloped. In his opinion, AR can only be effective when thevisualization of AR contents outreaches the human range of vision. In short,when one cannot see the margins of the augmented overlays a credible fusion canbe created by promoting a 180° or even 360° view of virtual contents.
Second, the technology shouldalso be able to quickly adapt to a human’s natural body movement. Currently,the augmented data is still lagging behind, not engaging the natural perception(Krevelen & Poelman 2010, p. 14-15). V. Elefteriu (personal communication,14 December 2017) also mentioned this limitation, as the current processingpower is still not on the level to offer instantaneous presentation, resultingin delayed adjustment. The negative consequent is, that the user will not trustthe AR application. According to his research, the rendered information cannotbe delayed 16-20 milliseconds for the human eye to realize the time-delayedpresentation.
Further, when looking at thecurrent hardware, today’s displays are still too heavy and bulky, which makesit hard to monitor and handle. For instance, BrainLAB’s microscope consists ofamongst others a large screen. To solve this, they are working on minimizingthe microscope to the extent that it only is attached to a small arm which canbe shifted easily or even exchange it entirely by developing augmented glasses.In short, the hardware should be light as well as small, easy to use andtransport, but also be fast enough to display graphics. But also in terms ofcontent creation, there still exist challenges (Lamberti et al. 2014, p.411-421). When developing the KARE App, E.
Bauer (personal communication,16December 2017) identifies the creation of the 3 D Models to be a hurdle, whichare the main content of the app. Up until today it is very time intense andexpensive to create 360° models of all furniture’s as these have to bephotographed from every single angle.Further, AR applicationsstill struggle to recognize objects in the real world and track their purpose. Toensure the credibility of objects situated in the real world, they have to bealigned seamlessly with augmented contents (Kipper & Rampolla 2012 andLamberti et al. 2014, p.
411-421). So for instance the KARE App is stilllacking the ability to rightfully place furniture onto the actual floor andalign to walls in the real world, which destroys the illusion of AR and makesits credibility suffer (E. Bauer, personal communication,16 December 2017).Finally, AR is to some extentlocation bound, as AR systems are dependent on Internet connectivity whichlimits its usage (Lass 2015 and Lang 2017) and the sensor accuracy is not fullydeveloped, meaning the tracking of AR systems for instance with GPS is inin-door positioning lacking accuracy and precision (Kipper & Rampolla 2012).
In summary, according to D (personal communication, 20 December 2017)that before AR can become a standard technology for the production in general,many technological issues have to be solved and costs lowered which makes it todate, not implementable for an entire process. SocialAcceptance & Information OverloadIn caseof social acceptance some challenges toAR exist as well, which ranges from unobtrusive fashionable appearance, as it stilldoes not feel comfortable to wear something, that restricts a persons’ view(Helda n.d.) to privacy concerns. These issues will take more time to overcomethan the previously mentioned technical problems (Mainelli 2016). To solve theissue, the technology needs to promote a wide range of excellent userexperience by creating experiences that are affordable, functional and have alower learning curve, as it is still somewhat unknown to the general public (Tandulwadikar, 2016, p. 5.
). V. Elefteriu (personal communication, 14 December 2017) also identifiessocial acceptance as a challenge to the wide range application of AR. Eventhough users know about the value added, older generations are not as opentowards the technology as younger generations are.
So when contents lack behindor the hardware is too heavy, their negative attitude towards the technology isconfirmed. Figure 14: The battle of the smart glassesSource: (Porter &Heppelmann 2017) Further, Information overloadis often applied to technology in general. People argue, that we live in a 24/7online society and so AR, which is accessible on demand, from every locationand at any time, will change the way we think and see the reality (Lass 2015).In addition, when large amounts of data and mass information is presented itcan lead to a cluttered presentation which makes it difficult for user to gaininsight. The solution would be to filter data or create a layout and guidelinesthat does not overload the user with information (Höllerer & Schmalstieg2016).
But also, D. Götze (personalcommunication, 18 December 2017) states that a user should not rely exclusivelyon AR so that important traits and signs from the environment are missed. Upontill now there still exist a high range of deviances. For instance, ESG GmbHused AR when simulating night driving for military purposes with thermalimaging and information overlays. Here they could identify misalignments to thereality, as the augmented content did not fully align with the surrounding.Especially for military and aerospace purposes AR needs to be very precise andrequires ongoing fine-tuning. In short, the overlayed information shouldimprove the task, not fully take over or distract, intrude or disturb specificsituation (thearea 2015).
PrivacyAs AR’score component consist of a camera itcan be prone to malware attacks by cyber criminals, as it allows them to hackthe system and ‘see everything’ that can affect innocent users and could haveincalculable effects on a company. Consequently, advanced security measureswill have to be implemented and developed, also together with law enforcementthat promotes a close-coordination with users and vendors to minimise potentialrisks (Kunkel et al. 2016, p. 28 and tech4i2 n.d., p. 4). V.
Elefteriu (personal communication, 14 December2017) on the other hand does not seedata protection as an issue, as every industry is bound to norms and rules aswell, that aim to secure the data of identities involved. But he notes, that a100% security can never be ensured. From the information providedabove the 3rd Research Question “How effective is Augmented Realityin Manufacturing?” can be answered. When comparing the pros and cons of AR, theadvantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages.
Even though AR is still in itsdeveloping phase and still has some technological issues that it needs toovercome to become an everyday tool, AR can benefit the organization andsupport its workers to be part of the digital era we are living in today. Manufactureshave already identified that AR can increase efficiency and productivity butalso foster increased customization without having to sacrifice quality. Thereason for this is that AR allows manufacturers to have more control overtraining processes and assembly.
Through the projection of digital content ontoa work surface and interactive guidance’s in actual time, manual processes aredriven by quickness and accuracy. The result is, a fault-free environment, aseach product is built correctly – every time. For a company to compete it isvital to have the ability to simplify complex manufacturing processes and envisionfunctional threats. The data that can be collected with the AR technologyenables production lines, employee and product adjustments to maximizeefficiency and foster better business results as well as communication (Mekni& Lemieux 2014, p.208, Gaede 2017 and Close 2017). N.
Ilmberger (personalcommunication 20 December 2017) from UTUM supports the latter when stating thatAR promotes easier communication as information and contents can be presentedvisually, what you previously had explain and use your imagination for. Moreover,AR will be able to create additional positions, narrow the skill gap and advancethe next era of man and machine cooperation (Close 2017). As Thomas McDermott,executive director of DMDII states “…
Augmented reality has immense potential to transformmanufacturing, and early adopters are seeing impressive productivity and quality improvements… However, wide adoption of this technology requirescollaboration among the industrial companies operating on the front lines andthe AR providers designing solutions to ensure the technology under developmentmeets the needs of industry. …” (as cited inO’Leary 2017)