AR Work Instructions Optimize Industrial Manufacturing

Written By: Leah Gourley
  • 2/28/2020
  • Read Time : 3 min

The most valuable part of any manufacturing line is the quality of its workforce. According to Manpower Manufacturing, 90% of managers view their workforce as their main source of innovation and customer satisfaction. It is skill, rather than machinery, that will determine the success of your manufacturing plant.


What are Work Instructions?

Work instructions are the string of information given to your workforce to ensure efficiency and safety throughout a manufacturing line. Work instructions can be made up of safety protocol, maintenance instructions, process overview and an index of machinery and spare parts.

It is vital to have a standardized way of working throughout any manufacturing organization because every different employee has a slightly different way of working, introducing variety into a manufacturer’s workflow. The larger your organization gets, the more variation will find its way into the workflow, leading to potential malfunctions and outages. Solid standardization of your specifications, methods, workflows, processes and practices will help you to do more with less resources, time and effort.


Deliver 2D and 3D Work Instructions through Augmented Reality (AR)

As industrial manufacturing plants revolutionize, so do work instructions. Augmented reality is paving the way for standardization of your plant’s processes to ensure your employees are all on the same page. Smart glasses enabled by augmented reality allow you to add a layer of digital information over your employee’s field of view. This means that users can see real-time information about the machinery in front of them, without having to refer to an outdated manual. Smart glasses illustrate how a part looks in 3D, providing clear insight into the part if there is a malfunction. Instructions become clearer for the user to understand and can also be updated in real-time, so you don’t have to reprint clunky and expensive manuals every time there is a change within your plant.


The Benefits of Work Instruction on Industrial Manufacturing

A clear, standardized, up-to-date set of work instructions throughout an organization dramatically increases worker safety, improves cycle-time and minimizes scrap, but how?

Improves communication between engineering and manufacturing

From the moment they are printed, traditional work instructions essentially become out of-of-date. If operators have to wait for updated instructions to be sent manually from the engineering department, they may seek workarounds or shortcuts that can lead to error and product variation.

Augmented reality work instructions can be made consistently up-to-date and can contain real-time data. New workers will easily interpret the work instructions from engineering without needing to labor through jargon-packed handbooks.

Reduce Training Time and Costs

The manufacturing industry must be increasingly fast paced to keep up with the trend of producing personalized and customized products. As production becomes increasingly varied, complex and disparate, it is even more important to ensure a consistent thread of information throughout the workforce.

This puts pressure on manufacturers to train and upskill their workers in order to keep up with the ever-changing industrial landscape. Updating and distributing written manuals every time there is a change to production is simply not viable. It takes time for the manufacturer to produce the instructions and even more time for your workforce to process them.

Work instruction templates, which can be implemented through augmented reality, give your workers an up-to-date, unified view of your manufacturing processes on the whole. Research also shows that it is easier for workers to learn from the immersive, practical instructions offered by augmented reality, requiring less time and money to get your newer workers up-to-speed.

How can PTC’s Vuforia Studio deliver this?

The Vuforia Studio allows you to build easy-to-follow work instructions without a skilled programmer or developer. Through Vuforia Studio, you can build immersive augmented reality work instructions that allow you to:

• Reuse existing step-by-step instructions
• Overlay the real world with up-to-date visual information
• Help your workers visualize the inside of machinery and parts
• Scale across machinery, products and regions.

Once your AR work instructions are created through Vuforia Studio, you can then transmit your work instructions through a variety of 2D and 3D augmented Reality Headsets and smart glasses, including the Microsoft Hololens 2 and the Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses. To find out more about how you can bring your manufacturing plant into the 21st century, listen to our webcast on how Augmented Reality can improve training and knowledge transfer.

  • Augmented Reality
  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Automotive
  • Industrial Equipment
  • Life Sciences
  • Oil and Gas

About the Author

Leah Gourley

Leah Gourley is a Digital Content Marketing Specialist based out of PTC's Boston office. She enjoys creating and sharing content surrounding the latest technologies that are transforming industries, including augmented reality and the industrial internet of things.