Augmented Reality in Industry 4.0

Industrial Revolutions

  • The first industrial revolution changed the agrarian structure of society through the mechanization of the manufacturing processes. This was the time of the steam machines, for example. The organization of work changed considerably with the rise of factories, which imply a specialization of functions.
  • The second industrial revolution is very often conceived as the logical extension of the first phase. The era coincides with a myriad of technological and scientific innovations able to grow exponentially industrial production. The assembly line, the electricity, and the railways are some of the great inventions of this time. The so-called mass production generated changes in society’s consumption patterns.
  • The third revolution witnessed the development of the first programmable logic control and mainly celebrated the advent of electronics and information technology to automate production.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 marks the fourth revolution in the industrial history and inaugurates a new era for the entire manufacturing ecosystem, from design to end-customer. Also known as Smart production or Smart Manufacturing, Industry 4.0 refers to a scenario of interoperability where people, devices, and machines of the entire value chain can connect and communicate with each other.

The flow of information, which is generated in this interactive structure, is crucial in industry 4.0. In fact, interconnected technologies devices relate to each other, collect and analyze data to generate information for the advanced analytics of the process. These insights will be used to spur actions in the physical world. “In other words, Industry 4.0 is a state in which manufacturing systems and the objects they create are not simply connected, drawing physical information into the digital realm, but also communicate, analyze, and use that information to drive further intelligent action back in the physical world to execute a physical-to-digital-to-physical transition. The result is a more flexible system capable of adapting to and learning from changes in the environment.” Deloitte.

Augmented reality: the new business tool driving industry 4.0

Nine major technologies are transforming the Industrial Production in industry 4.0. Augmented reality is one of them. AR technology brings users the chance to experience an augmented world by overlaying virtual information in the real world. This way the user can be in touch with both the real and virtual world and receive real-time data or statistics.

For industry 4.0, this can have several advantages. It can be the perfect way to represent relevant information for technicians and workers in the company, allowing them to watch real time information from the work they are performing. It is also suitable to provide technicians information about the problem a machine is going through, giving them the chance to view the user guide or even to contact an expert to receive real time assistance.

Another great advantage AR brings to Industry 4.0 is the possibility of enhancing industrial training and learning while reducing risks and costs.