I’ve said again and again that service is the most compelling use case for augmented reality, but now it’s time to discuss how to make that technology a staple of maintaining and repairing equipment.
According to a survey from The Service Council, 30% of organizations believe existing AR solutions are ready for field service, but the real question is “do those organizations have content that’s compatible with AR?”
From what I’ve seen, the answer is no. Translating hundreds (or in some cases, thousands) of print-focused technical publications into AR-accessible content is no easy task. Where do you even start?
Despite what many would have you believe, not all your technical content is suitable for AR. Before spending the time and labor creating 3D technical illustrations for dozens of products and thousands of parts, assess what content those repairing and maintaining your products would like to know.
Keep in mind that there’s a big difference between maintaining an asset and repairing an asset. For example, if you produce cars, your maintenance content should include 3D-animated sequences showing how to change the oil, change a spare tire, replace a battery, and other basic tasks the average car owner could handle on his or her own.
However, if you’re creating content for a mechanic, you’d probably want to create detailed, step by step procedures on how to replace catalytic converters, service a radiator, or solve some other complex issue.
In addition, you probably don’t have to create interactive 3D animations of how to identify the service engine light. Focus on creating content for procedures, not general knowledge.
I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face. Use your CAD data.
Your engineering team creates CAD files of all the parts for every one of your products. Transforming those files into 3D illustrations, sequences, and animations will save you and your tech pubs team a lot of time and money. The Toro Company applied this approach and reduced the time it took to create a single 3D illustration from one hour to fifteen minutes.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to integrating AR into your maintenance and repair operations. On April 26th, I’m hosting a webinar that provides detail into how you can select information that’s suitable for AR. You can register for the webinar below:
Jeff Coon is PTC’s Solution Management Director, overseeing PTC’s illustration tools. With 34 years of experience in field service, Jeff’s career began as an AH-1 Attack Helicopter Repairman in the U.S. Army. After his time in the service, he worked as a technical illustration specialist at Boeing for five years until he joined ITEDO Software as a technical engineer in 2000. In 2006, he was named PTC’s Principal Application Engineer for the company’s illustration tools, defining implementation strategies for Boeing, John Deere, and others.