The time where augmented reality was just a fun gimmick is now long gone — especially when it comes to training.  Augmented reality in manufacturing is a valuable tool for boosting internal training and productivity. 

Augmented reality is a technology that enables you to place interactive 3D digital elements onto actual surroundings by using a digital device like a smartphone or a tablet. You are able to interact with the digital element, manipulate it, move it, and even walk around it.

Companies implementing augmented reality in manufacturing or other industries like medical technology and energy have seen the vast potential in embracing this type of technology and incorporating it in how they train, certify, and update the knowledge of their workforce.

The necessity for consistent and easy training is paramount for manufacturing and hardware companies today. Especially when considering that employee tenure in manufacturing is only approximately five years. The risk of constantly running on reduced production due to employee churn can be greatly minimized if a company is able to provide the right training at the right time. This is where augmented reality can play a prominent role in ensuring quick onboarding of new employees as well as maintaining a constant high level of technical knowledge within the company.

Listed below are some of the main benefits of using augmented reality in production and manufacturing.

Save money with AR training

Remote training using AR is not only convenient, it is cost effective. 

Most employees already have access to digital devices, meaning that you do not incur the cost of expensive equipment that is purely used for training purposes.

If a training session requires access to complex and expensive machinery, training multiple employees with AR can greatly reduce the costs involved, since the machinery only exists in virtual form.

Remote AR training can also drastically reduce the amount of time and money employees spend attending a training session by cutting travel out of the equation. 

Virtual simulation for delicate interactions

The potential for providing effective training across a wide variety of business and industrial processes is immense. For example, if training is required in the operation of machinery where errors could be costly, the ability to use 3D objects in augmented reality makes for a safe and cost-effective alternative.

This allows the user to obtain maximum experience and competency before using these newly acquired skills out in the field.

Training staff at a distance with AR

Your employees may be scattered at multiple locations, even in various parts of the world. Remote training using AR provides companies with the ability to train and develop employees anywhere in the world.

With AR it is possible for them all to receive standardized and cost effective training without the need to bring them all together in one centralized location.

Bringing handbooks and manuals to the next level

Not only does digitalization of manuals and other instructional materials reduce cost — both when distributing or updating materials — but combining this material with augmented reality gives employees a much better hands-on experience.

You can bring the digital manuals directly to the product and enable an employee to scan a specific part of a product to quickly find the right information about how it is supposed to be used.

Combining manuals and videos means the right instructions can be delivered at the right time and place — no more scrolling through endless manuals or searching for possible instructional videos in a video library. 

Maintain employee skills and knowledge 

Augmented Reality systems can ensure all employees have the right knowledge and insights. When highly skilled employees leave the company or experienced workers retire, the company will be able to train new employees easily in order to quickly fill possible gaps in an effective and efficient manner.

Applying additional machine learning technologies to the training system lets it evolve over time by benefitting from every positive (and negative) interaction done by the entire workforce. 

Fast track onboarding new employees 

With a professional AR training setup, onboarding new employees can be done much faster, and in a more uniform manner. AR-based training programs will ensure consistency in training new staff members and require minimal effort in the training setup in cases where the training involves ‘hands-on’ use of complex equipment.

Save time on re-training and certification 

If a company wants to maintain a specific level of certification among the employees, AR training can be a useful way to optimize this process. This is especially true in companies with large workforces that need constant recertification. AR reduces the amount of time needed since the training can happen in a timeframe that fits each employee. There is no need to bring together larger groups of people to train them in bulk. 

Update and maintain product knowledge 

If a specific product or tool is updated, AR training is a unique way to make sure that the entire workforce, or at least the people that require updated knowledge, can be trained quickly and effectively in a uniform manner that will minimize the time needed for training.

The visual and hands-on training AR provides also serves to increase knowledge retention and engage different types of learners who may not benefit as much from reading off of an FAQ or messaging sheet.

Service and maintain complex machines

Using AR in assisting and maintaining machines and equipment can drastically reduce the time spent on keeping the materials up and running. It is possible to be trained in maintaining a specific machine without having to take it out of production. And by creating an interactive maintenance guide, you ensure that the service is done correctly and in the right way every time.

Combining AR with machine learning can even help troubleshoot a malfunction and save a lot of time in assisting maintenance with possible solutions and even visual guides on how to fix the problem.

Get started with augmented reality in manufacturing

We know that taking the first step or even just considering the possibilities of using AR in training and education can be a big deal. It can seem like a very cumbersome and daunting task. That's why the Bigtincan team is more than eager to help you figure out exactly how your company can benefit from using AR. Our experts will be your guide to exploring the many possibilities of AR and other extended reality technologies

If you are interested in learning more about how augmented reality can be part of your company’s training strategy and take your internal training and productivity to the next level, you can reach out to our team here. We are ready to help you in any way we can.