Industry 4.0 gets stronger with augmented reality

9 de May de 2019

Aumented reality consolidates in the industrial field.

Last week, the companies Rockwell Automation and PTC presented the Vuforia application, with which Ford is already working in its plants. It stands out for its simplicity of use and combines very different possibilities (safety, maintenance, monitoring, …). The solution is available in any mobile device with screen, and can also be used with Microsoft Hololens glasses, with which the user has greater freedom of movement to check both elements and information.

It is worth mentioning that this technology has improved workers’ safety by offering clearly differentiated safety zones on their viewfinder or touch screen, which, if we get too close to the red danger zone, either the alarm will go off or the machine will stop. It is also combined with the maintenance of machines or robots by means of the sensors installed in them (error detection, real-time performance graphics, repairs, etc.).

Detect engine errors without having to open it

Rockwell Automation shows us another example with the application – Smart SMG – in this case a drone factory, where operators can detect errors before the engine has to be opened. It avoids having to resort to the instruction manual, as the application itself can tell us how to carry out the whole process, being able to follow it on screen all the time to avoid the slightest incident.

These are just some of the uses that allow us to apply augmented reality to the connected industry, regardless of the sector in which we work. Everything suggests that this technology is traveling the same journey that once made virtual reality or 3D printing. Augmented reality is now moving from education and leisure to industry. In the words of Blake Moret, CEO of Rockwell Automation, to the Economist “this software multiplies the possibilities”. Referring to the 150 new solutions presented at its annual show, he says that “[…] technology is unlocking new levels of productivity.

The recent alliance between Rockwell Automation and PTC will also enable further development of both these augmented reality solutions and other technologies: PTC offers programmable logic controllers (PLCs), augmented reality applications, connectivity and the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), while Rockwell enables companies to move forward in everything related to analytics, MES, automation, industrial control, sensors and networks. “What do we get when we connect everything,” asks Jim Heppelman, CEO of PTC. “That we can monitor and control any aspect of production, from there, optimize it, get to market earlier, better meet customer needs. He also claimed the role of training for professionals, who will be increasingly qualified. He also spoke of “mother nature as inspiring many designs, from the similarity between the wings of a bird of prey and an airplane or between the human circulatory system and communications in an industrial plant”.