Four Key Applications of Augmented Reality in Manufacturing Industry

Four Key Applications of Augmented Reality in Manufacturing Industry

There are four key applications of augmented reality in manufacturing:

A warehouse worker can use AR to find inventory. This can save time and reduce errors.

Easier troubleshooting on the shop floor: AR can superimpose work instructions or maintenance docs onto equipment to help with assembling and fixing machines.

AR can also connect a customer to an expert who can walk them through the repair process, all without disrupting production.

Asset Identification

Using AR, manufacturers can identify an asset, augmented reality in manufacturing industry machine, or location within a facility and overlay it with information. That can include manual process data like cycle times and defects or IIoT data such as temperature, humidity levels, and pressure settings. This allows operators to easily troubleshoot issues and fix them without having to consult paper schematics or wasting time searching for the right part in storage.

Another way industry is deploying AR is by enhancing visuals of production equipment to help workers perform maintenance faster. This is especially helpful when it comes to repairing complex equipment like elevators used by billions of people every day or aircraft engines that are so complicated that the smallest deviation from specifications could cause a disaster. By allowing workers to view detailed work instructions, step-by-step holographic animations of the repair process, and remotely receive support from engineers, AR reduces maintenance downtime, leads to fewer errors, and increases productivity.

A fourth way manufacturing companies use AR is by giving new hires an easy onboarding process with guided tasks and access to instant knowledge transfer from experts via telepresence. This can be critical in closing the skills gap and ensuring that manufacturers get the best possible output from their employees. As the COVID-19 pandemic caused restrictions on travel, it was even more essential to provide experienced technicians with a way to pass their knowledge to inexperienced colleagues in an efficient manner.

Product Design

AR is a type of technology that superimposes virtual elements constructed from CAD data onto views of real objects. This is where it differs from virtual reality (VR), which immerses a user into a completely digital scenario.

The augmented reality market for manufacturing applications includes software and hardware that enables workers to view 3D models of products, equipment, and workspaces. The technology helps them perform their jobs more efficiently and accurately, while improving safety and reducing production time.

Using AR, workers can view detailed work instructions and other information in real-time without having to look away from the task at hand. The augmented reality software can also add audio and visual cues to instructions to make them easier to follow. Some systems even use voice commands for hands-free and more intuitive navigation.

For example, when assembling a headliner for an automobile or another large component on the assembly line, a worker needs to know precisely where to lay the padding, glue, and wire harness. By combining a digital model of the ideal product with an overlay of digital work instructions, the worker can ensure they are following the correct template. This greatly reduces errors and increases productivity and efficiency.

AR can also help to troubleshoot malfunctioning machinery on the factory floor. Instead of paying an expert to travel to the site and manually check the machine, AR lets a worker see through their eyes what the problem is. This means they can troubleshoot the issue and fix it quickly, saving time and money.

Warehouse Management

All manufacturing processes generate a wealth of data. These include guidelines, schematics, manuals and user instructions for every component on the production floor. However, sorting and categorizing these and making them easily retrievable is a time-consuming task.

The use of AR helps streamline this process. Workers can simply wear an AR headset to instantly access all this data on the fly without having to scroll through spreadsheets or even have a laptop on hand. This creates faster access to resources and enables them to focus on more important tasks.

In addition to that, using AR in the field provides on-the-spot training. This means that engineers can easily notice a problem area in real time and address it before it affects the entire assembly or production process.

Augmented reality also reduces maintenance time. By displaying information like operating times, potential pain points and the date of the last service on equipment, AR helps technicians and engineers find and fix mechanical issues quickly. This helps reduce downtime and ensures a smoother and more efficient production process.

In addition, AR can help with inventory management. By overlaying navigation and data on top of a physical warehouse space, it’s easy to identify the exact aisle and shelf where a specific item is stored. This simplifies warehouse management and eliminates the need to keep track of spreadsheets.


With older workers retiring and fewer people to take their place, manufacturing is facing an urgent problem: the skills gap. To combat this, AR makes it easier than ever to transfer valuable expertise to new hires. The technology can help close this gap by providing real-time work instructions that can guide employees in complex assembly tasks.

For instance, an automotive company can use AR to give workers step-by-step holographic instructions for engine assembly augmented reality in manufacturing industry without them needing to leave the factory floor. This can reduce the time it takes to complete routine maintenance and improve overall quality.

Another example involves workers conducting a physical inspection of machinery. They can view three-dimensional models of their equipment with VR, and if they notice an issue, they can see what it looks like in the simulation without putting themselves at risk. As a result, the process is faster and more accurate, and there are fewer errors during production.

Moreover, an AR headset can identify a component, machine, or area of the factory and provide information about it in real-time. This visual representation allows workers to quickly access a range of data points and see trends or possible efficiencies, speeding up problem-solving and process optimization. It also helps to avoid scheduled downtime and expensive repairs. Using AR for training can even cut down on costs by eliminating the need to bring in outside experts.

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