Optimising your industrial process with augmented and virtual reality

article on industrial process optimisation

Producing a large quantity of products in the most cost-effective way possible is the goal of any industrial process. Whether it's automotive, chemical formulation or industrial machinery, optimising time and budget is an inherent problem in the industry.

Today, innovative technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming increasingly popular and are helping to optimise industrial processes. The good news is that the tools resulting from these technologies are becoming increasingly accessible, for example thanks to the democratisation of virtual reality headsets. Specialists predict that 100 million VR headsets will be sold by 2021 (source: IDC).

Transport, aeronautics, agri-food (IAA), energy... in all these sectors, augmented reality and virtual reality are finding concrete uses in industrial processes. There are many advantages.

Examples include:

- a better understanding of industrial processes for all stakeholders
- improved workstation ergonomics
- the effectiveness of sales and decision support tools
- ease of modelling
- time savings and productivity gains in an industrial process
- increased profitability

Augmented reality and virtual reality serve all stages of industrial processes

Augmented reality and virtual reality can be used to optimise the entire industrial process, from design to the marketing of the finished product:

#1 Design and manufacture of industrial machinery or industrial units

3D models are excellent preview tools. They make it possible to ensure that all the necessary checks are carried out before moving on to the final physical construction. Thanks to them, the industrialist can not only verify the correct assembly of parts, detect errors in the creation of a prototype, have a reliable overview of the finished industrial product and the choice of options. They are also great tools for collaborative work. The use of these 3D tools in industry facilitates the assignment of tasks and the division of labour.

3D model of a palletising robot

Virtual reality can be used, for example, for the virtual commissioning of a machine. While the real machine is being built in the workshop, the engineers build a virtual 3D version of it in order to run simulations. This is a good way of testing and avoiding a large number of errors. The result: optimisation of efficiency and profitability.

In addition, augmented reality is used to enrich the real space. Thanks to the interactivity it offers, this technology is perfect for simulating complex processes. The augmented reality application is an excellent decision-making tool when trying out several solutions to a technical problem. It is then possible to run different scenarios and test all the options.

hololens mechanical part

#2 Augmented and virtual simulation

Another example of the application of 3D technology in industry is virtual and augmented simulation. The benefit? Thanks to appropriate calculations and modelling, 3D simulation can validate the industrial feasibility of a project before developing prototypes. How does it work? By simulating the physical integrity and functional characteristics of a component that does not yet exist, and by propelling it into the real world to verify that the object is well designed.
Example: a specialist in the modernisation of production tools, Keonys creates Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and 3D solutions. It then chose to invest in augmented reality technology, more precisely in "augmented simulation". These applications are a great help to avoid any failure during the industrial process. They allow, for example, to validate the functioning of an engine while some parts are still only prototypes.

"We are working on augmented reality technologies to perform predictive monitoring of industrial defects," explains Jacques Bacry, CEO of Keonys.

#3 Industrial Maintenance 3D

Carrying out a maintenance operation in a hostile environment, i.e. in a situation presenting high risks for humans? This is what industrial maintenance in 3D allows you to do safely, for example by controlling operations via a remote control.
Mixed reality is a technology for viewing content in augmented reality through a headset. It can take assisted maintenance a step further. Imagine the technician in front of the machine. He is guided in his operations by the information that appears in Mixed Reality in the Hololens headset. A real plus for safety and efficiency.

mixed reality information for industry

#4 Training and support for operation during industrial operation

Augmented reality offers numerous possibilities for training industrial teams. Whether it is for assembly or maintenance, these applications not only allow training beforehand but also assist operators during their work.

#5 Industrial marketing

Implementation studies, in situ project visualization, presentation of a process or an industrial project to an external organization, virtual factory tour... virtual reality or augmented reality in industry also has many marketing uses. Manufacturers can show their products from a custom application, via an industrial augmented catalogue. The benefits are numerous! It enhances the value of the products, helps customers to project themselves, gives an innovative image of the brand and above all, increases sales. Did you know that it is now even possible to test drive cars remotely?

Examples of hardware to be used in augmented or virtual reality according to usage
Are you planning to use augmented or virtual reality, and want to know which hardware is right for you and your employees? Here are some examples:

● Glasses
● Laptop computer
● Camera
● Video walls
● TV screen
● VR headset
● Mixed reality headset

Manufacturing, simulation, maintenance, training, industrial marketing... Augmented reality and virtual reality can be used to optimise the design of an industrial product, an existing industrial process or an industrial installation. Today, we can truly say that the virtual factory is becoming a reality in all industrial sectors!

Want to know more about 3D applications for industry? Download our guide! 

3D industry applications guide