Training and knowledge sharing with AR/VR technology

Training and knowledge sharing with AR/VR technology

Fincons Group and Wideverse have joined forces to provide the manufacturing sector with an AR/VR powered platform to help the manufacturing sector overcome the challenge posed by a lack of specialized staff. The solution helps train and perform routine maintenance by sharing expertise, rather than location.

1 June 2022
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Skills shortage and training

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the manufacturing sector was struggling to manage the obstacle posed by an aging workforce, where skilled technicians were becoming increasingly hard to find, with the maintenance and up-keep needs of multiple locations and factories, sometimes spread out internationally. This typically results in businesses investing in multiple, often international, trips to send their skilled technicians to perform maintenance on machinery in locations across the globe. This is not only expensive and environmentally detrimental, but it also extends machine downtime, driving up production costs and delays. Fincons and Wideverse thus teamed up to help the manufacturing sector cut costs and improve efficiency in training and maintenance with AR technology.

Bridging the training gap

Training new staff to perform maintenance and repairs on machinery is the strategy already embraced by most manufacturing sector businesses but reaching the required level of skill and expertise is a time-consuming and lengthy process both for trainer and trainees. AR technology can come to the rescue providing businesses with the ideal solution to make knowledge transfer replicable and insightful at scale.

Augmented Reality for training and remote assistance

With Wideverse’s AR solution and Fincons Open Innovation Platform, manufacturing businesses are finally able to record hours of immersive training material, enrich it with data from an endless range of other sources and make it available to their workers via AR headsets. The extensive training libraries that can be developed may offer users pdf manuals, technical drawings and even 3D section models and holograms. Users can select specific steps and view them again and again until they feel confident enough to perform them. In addition to training, the product can be used to guide maintenance and actions remotely so experts can supervise junior staff live, wherever they are.

AR with the power of an Open Innovation Platform behind it

Data from external sources can also be viewed in handy dashboards without having to go elsewhere to access a fixed computer. The sources of this data can be Beacon, RFID and NFC tags, that add tracing information to an already comprehensive overview and provide viewers with all the data relevant to their task while they are performing it.

The platform also empowers the system with push notifications and alarms that alert the user when action is needed on a specific machine or part contextually to the ongoing maintenance. The predictive algorithms developed by the platform enable pre-emptive alerts, demanding that attention is given to specific parts of the machinery that may need it, and are delivered to the user directly in the headset. These predictive alerts help optimise interventions and prevent downtime, so that small malfunctions do not escalate into bigger issues further down the line. The dashboard also offers real-time metrics on the improvements that can be achieved as intervention takes place.

Training the Italian Airforce

One interesting application of this technology is the research project provided by the Italian Air Force that needed to train a number of skilled staff to make up for retiring expertise. Air and land vehicles and apparatus require regular maintenance and ad hoc interventions throughout the country and in the international locations the Italian air force operates in. Personnel numbers were simply insufficient to cover all the time-sensitive needs of the Air Force and training new staff is a complex and lengthy process. The Force thus adopted the AR solution to record a library of video training content that new recruits and personnel in training can watch at any time, transforming training into the exchange of expertise and not physical location.

The role of AR/VR in industry 

There has been a lot of debate around AR over this past decade, but it is only now that this technology is becoming ripe for fruition. A combination of higher bandwidth and increased digitalization within factories, mixed in with the rising cost of raw material and down time compared with ever-more affordable technology, will continue to make AR an increasingly appealing solution for the manufacturing sector.

 

Antonio De Girolamo
Fincons Group
Director of Solutions & Business Development, Business Unit Manufacturing. Talent Outreach & University Relations Coordinator
https://www.linkedin.com/in/antoniodegirolamo/
Michelantonio Trizio
Wideverse
CTO Wideverse
https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelantoniotrizio/