virtual reality in manufacturing

Virtual Reality in Manufacturing

Virtual reality, sometimes referred to as augmented reality, is a computer-generated simulation that allows users to interact in a virtually simulated three-dimensional environment as if in the real world, to perform a plethora of tasks yielding results as would appear in real life.

It is used in most industries nowadays, initially having made its debut in the entertainment and gaming industry. However, it has grown into other sectors such as manufacturing, aviation, healthcare, architecture, and many more, benefiting the industries immensely by significantly improving their services while cutting their costs.

The most significant advantage of virtual reality is that it can be used to test a concept numerous times without additional costs. This is done to determine the most efficient and accurate way of developing that concept in real life, saving a tonne of resources that would have been used to conduct the tests in real life.

Examples of Industry Giants Using Virtual Reality

Like all other revolutionary technologies, top industry organizations have swiftly explored how virtual reality will improve their business and give them a competitive advantage over their rivals. Lockheed Martin, the defense contractor, and aerospace company, uses virtual reality, having developed its new F-35 jet utilizing the technology. Virtual reality enabled them to have an accuracy of 96% and a fast delivery of the project compared to the other projects they’ve done.

Ford motor company is another company making use of technology. Virtual reality has enabled them to fine-tune the designs of their vehicles. It has been advantageous, with the technology being able to simulate different environments, weather patterns, and road conditions from a driver’s perspective.

Boeing also quickly adopted the technology to aim to develop safer aircraft. In this industry, there’s simply no room for error. Virtual reality enables Boeing engineers to simulate weather conditions and the plane’s reaction to the different environments and the best speeds the pilots should use under other conditions. They can also act like the best, durable and efficient materials to use while developing the aircraft.

Many more companies have taken advantage of this cutting-edge technology, which is safe to say it is here to stay, bettering, and enhancing the quality of their services and products.

How Companies Are Leveraging Virtual Reality To Enhance Their Process

Inventory Management

Logistics companies are leveraging virtual reality to help them manage their warehouse. Due to the massive traffic of items that pass through the companies, virtual reality will play a key role in streamlining their commodities processing. DHL successfully managed to test smart glasses to be used by storekeepers in the Netherlands.

The technology enables vision picking in the warehouse. It is made possible by smart glasses, displaying graphics of the items for a quick picking process while significantly reducing the errors. The company noted an improved efficiency of 25% in the picking phase. That translates to a shorter time for delivery of the goods in transit, giving DHL a tremendous competitive advantage over its competitors.

Vehicle Design and Build

Automotive manufacturers stand to benefit from this cutting-edge technology when they deploy it. The leading automotive company Ford has reaped virtual reality fruits based on a report from Forbes magazine. The company brought onboard virtual reality specialists who guide the automotive development engineers on developing vehicles based on accurate and paramount information derived from virtual reality. Like their quality control aspect, Ford has a prerequisite of virtual reality reviews for all of their cars that go into production.

Ford has noted positive improvements in its vehicles’ overall quality, reduced production time, and significant costs saving due to the virtual reality simulations.

Maintenance and Assembly Training

As the manufacturing sector grows, there is a need for highly trained and qualified workers to work in the industry. On the contrary, there’s a huge skill gap noted among the workers, and the number of skilled workers declined.

Virtual reality can assist with the rigorous selection process of qualified workers to work in these industries. These workers will then be trained to use the virtual reality tools deployed on the manufacturing plants. These are smart glasses, which project tutorials and workflow procedures for the workers, guiding them with a step by step process of the maintenance and assembly of products. The glasses promptly display menus and tutorials about repair, maintenance, and any other necessary information regarding the item by staring at a mechanical part.

Factory Floor Planning

Planning a factory floor can determine the overall time taken for production. Hence, it is essential to ensure your factory floor is designed to optimize productivity, time, and resources to avoid unnecessary delays or production line shutdowns.

Virtual reality technology allows infinite testing on the appropriate floor planning, catering for all aspects such as where to place robots, machines, and people for optimum working capacity. It can allow even testing of ergonomics for the workers to ensure they do not tire quickly. Virtual reality can also allow the accounting of redundancies to ensure the factory stays up and running during the machines’ maintenance.

Improved Worker Safety

There can never be too much safety for workers. As long as safety improvements can be made, manufacturing companies take them to ensure their employees are safe. Employee safety translates to better performance and overall quality of their work.

Virtual reality significantly improves employee safety in manufacturing facilities. Virtual reality allows simulation of machine configurations and the entire production process enabling the companies to spot potentially dangerous areas and situations that will enable them to take the necessary measures to protect the employees.

The virtual simulation is also used to train the employees, allowing them to become well versed with the machines and production process before getting to the production floor.

Better-Developed Products

The inclusion of virtual reality in product development ensures minimal to zero errors during the production phase. This is due to the initial simulation of the product development phase, in which errors are identified and mitigated before the actual production.

Companies leveraging virtual reality have significantly benefited from this, cutting huge costs of remodeling incorrectly done products.

Virtual reality or augmented reality is a revolutionary technology that has positively impacted many industries and sectors. It is here to stay and a wise avenue to pursue sectors which deal with sensitive calculations and production.