Maintenance Q&As

What is augmented reality and how is it used in maintenance?

Answered August 15 2019

Augmented reality (AR) is the process of using smart technology to illustrate and train maintenance professionals on how to perform important maintenance procedures effectively and accurately. AR replaces classic methods of teaching such as training manuals, printed graphs and material, and even 3D models. Augmented reality takes things to the next level by allowing you to see – and often virtually perform tasks – by combining a computer-generated image with a real-life machine or piece of equipment.

A Brief History of Augmented Reality

As far back as the 1960s and 1970s, scientists began experimenting with augmented reality technology. The first true augmented reality application involved robotics in 1992 where computer-generated tools were used on top of real-life equipment to improve worker efficiency. Today, augmented reality is making its way into many industries, including maintenance.

Augmented Reality in Maintenance

Note: 30% of organizations believe existing AR solutions are ready for field service.

According to augmented reality software provider PTC, not all maintenance tasks are suitable for augmented reality.

The best maintenance-related tasks for augmented reality training should be procedure-based. For example, maintenance tasks such as how to replace a key part on a critical asset can be accurately and efficiently taught using AR. However, general maintenance information or data does not require this smart technology.

Facilities managers should focus on applying augmented reality tools to help train maintenance technicians to perform their tasks more consistently and precisely.

Where Do I Start?

Start with your computer-aided design files. These already contain a great deal of 3D information that can be easily converted into stages, processes, and sequences. All of this information can be combined and reused to increase efficiency in creating augmented reality procedures.

In addition, focus on your most critical assets and procedures that are most frequently performed to quickly maximize your return on investment.

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