Augmented Reality Becomes A Focus in Maintenance Technology

Innovations around augmented reality are set to change how engineers approach construction.

  • Augmented reality enables live direct or indirect views of real-world environments to be superimposed with computer-generated images
  • AR can help facilities managers increase productivity, decrease costs, and keep engineers safe on the job when integrated with an enterprise asset management computerized maintenance management system (EAM CMMS)
  • The use of augmented reality at GE Aviationhas increased efficiency by as much as 12%, while wiring technicians at GE Renewable Energy  have reportedly seen a 34% increase in productivity using similar technology.

Another industrial revolution is upon us and industries such as manufacturing are taking advantage of augmented reality technology to enhance employee experience, keep employees safer, and also close the knowledge gap.

Augmented reality enables live direct or indirect views of real-world environments to be superimposed with computer-generated images. Moreover, it allows users to obtain step-by-step instructions on how to repair an asset, reduces human error, and increases productivity. Notably, the use of augmented reality at GE Aviation has increased efficiency by as much as 12%, while wiring technicians at GE Renewable Energy  have reportedly seen a 34% increase in productivity using similar technology.

Maintenance plays a vital role in industries such as manufacturing. Now, with the innovation of augmented reality, maintenance can be taken to a whole other level.

Technology changes the workforce

AR technologies such as infrared thermography allow engineers and mechanics to see electrical systems, mechanical equipment, building applications, and fluid systems through the use of thermovision. Through its use, engineers can spot faulty connections, abnormal motors, pipe temperatures and tank levels through this equipment showing different colors without having to touch the equipment.

When integrated with an enterprise asset management computerized maintenance management system (EAM CMMS), AR can help facilities managers increase productivity, decrease costs, and keep engineers safe on the job.

CMMS has the capability to provide maintenance management and staff with an automated tool capable of scheduling inspections, preventive maintenance, managing inventory, work orders, and retrieval of recorded asset history. It can also be paired with wearable technology that can provide engineers with an elevated view of assets obtained through AR such as infrared thermography, and the ability to see instructions on the assets, as well as the facility to use data in training new hires.

Notably, a CMMS could also benefit from machine learning by using algorithms to monitor assets such as meter readings, and calculate those readings by the second.

A number of startups have already begun developing innovative ways to use EAM CMMS in construction. For example, Los Angeles-based company DAQRI is developed a wearable AR tech smart helmet for industrial use. Engineers using the helmet can see 4D images above assets in their facilities that give them a mapping of all asset functionality, and prompt them with servicing instructions. This wearable technology allows engineers to discover asset information faster and closes the knowledge gap for new hires.

Vienna, Virginia’s UpSkill has created a platform that, when paired with wearable smart glasses, enables technicians in real-time to complete tasks, checklists, work orders, and send media to managers. Additionally, Edmonton, Canada’s Scope AR has developed a holographic lens which allows engineers to scan work areas, add content instructions and publish them to the cloud or a private server, when operated with its Worklink authoring system.

has made it possible for the user to create their own smart instructions for assets to allow for less human error, increase safety, and also walk engineers step-by-step on repair processes. This can increase the time it takes to complete work by also complying with facility procedures.

According to turnkey solutions developer Transcendent, approximately 50 billion machines will be connected on the internet by 2020.  As AR continues to develop at a rapid pace, more industries are bound to adopt these devices and make them apart of their facility operations.

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