Augmented Reality with S4 Integration

Date Published: 27-03-2020 | Author: Traun Hufkie

Augmented reality is used to expand the physical world, adding layers of digital information into the existing physical view we already have, to enhance and expand our view of the current or future reality. At S4, we use this amazing tool to enhance our manufacturing, problem solving and training processes.

How to use AR in Industrial Automation

Original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) are looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage in their production environments in order to survive our current turbulent times. S4, having been involved in the forefront of this trend, actively existing and competing in this competitive environment for over two decades, know just what this requires and understand the importance of building lower cost, intuitive machines that are easy to use and maintain.

S4 has seen an increasing trend within the industry that has created workforce challenges as a result of skilled artisans retiring, resulting in a lack of skills in technical roles. This has unfortunately negatively impacted downtime as a result of slower or inadequate maintenance programs.

S4 have reviewed the various challenges faced by industry as a result of the loss of certain skills and skill levels and through the use of augmented reality have created a more intuitive way to interact with equipment, thus aiding technician’s knowledge of machine processes in ways never before thought possible. S4 have thus brought technology to the shop-floor in a hands on, live manner that has real world benefits to assist in production and maintenance tasks. Such benefits include assistance for:

  • Complex Assembly
  • Maintenance Instructions
  • Remote expert support
  • Quality Assurance
  • Automation

Let’s examine a practical scenario for AR and how it's revolutionizing the way technicians interact with today’s machinery.

  • A technician gets a call to head out to a machine experiencing issues to help troubleshoot and correct the problem.
  • When the technician arrives, the operator explains the symptoms but as with most production environments, it’s difficult for the technician to relate the internal mechanical issues.

Fortunately, S4 has precisely the tool required in this situation, augmented reality!

  • The technician goes to his toolbox but instead of grabbing physical tools, he grabs a tablet PC. The technician opens the application, points it at the machine, lines up the wireframe representation of the entire machine and locks on.
  • Once locked on, the tablet can be moved around the machine, giving him a full 3D, x-ray like view, while the instrumentation remains in its relative location.
  • The troubleshooting process begins with the assistance of augmented reality, giving the technician all the insights he needs from behind the scenes, allowing him views he would never have had unless he physically stripped the machine.

The results:

  • The augmented reality highlights the process flow and potential issues.
  • Displays real-time process information.
  • Identifies the faulty instrument.

Selecting the faulty instrument on the tablet will provide you with more detail and allows you to see real-time trends, the operator manual, and advanced diagnostics, which shows the exact cause of the issue making it easier and quicker to correct.

Augmented Reality Equipment Training & Maintenance App

At S4 Integration, we use Augmented Reality for educational purposes as well as virtual guidelines when using a virtual engine to train engineers on how to maintain it.

The augmented reality app for iPad and Android devices is used to bring instructions out of the manual and directly onto real shop-floor equipment. The app highlights the exact bolt to unscrew or place to pry with a screwdriver to avoid damage.

New technicians will quickly learn new procedures correctly, the first time. Step by step walkthroughs shows procedures with both augmented reality overlays and full 3D models that can be rotated to view from any angle.

Why is S4 Integration the Preferred Solution?

At S4 Integration, we use the latest technology to make your life easier, eliminating your challenges. We are truly capable of implementing Augmented Reality on your shop-floor to assist in boosting productivity and simplifying your maintenance program!

Our highly skilled developers will create engaging and unique solutions for every workspace that will surpass your expectations.