One of the main challenges of digital transformation of factories is to be able to digitize efficiently the quality control and inspection operations and to reduce the number of non-conformities or to detect them early in the process.
To achieve this, AR is one digital answer among others but it is particularly relevant in these cases. But what makes an augmented reality solution better than another digital solution or more traditional alternatives?
Allowing to superimpose instructions in the real environment and to accompany the operators in their daily tasks, AR is well known as a training tool for the employees or a support for the technical maintenance. However, the fields of application and the relevance of the digital solution in quality control do not end there and allow you to reinforce your processes in many other aspects.
Guide your operators with an augmented reality based inspection
First of all, AR contributes to make the quality control process more efficient, guiding the operator step by step through all the control points to be executed and thanks to the display of the 3D instructions directly on the equipment to be inspected, indicating each element that must be present and their correct positioning.
The interest here is to improve the reliability of quality management processes simply by digitizing work instruction sheets. This ensures the completeness of your controls, the repeatability of the process and above all, to not miss a non-conformity.
Compare “as built” to “as designed”
A digital solution that uses augmented reality with the 3D model at the center is particularly reliable in this context.
It uses the digital model of the inspected equipment by overlaying its theoretical 3D model (as designed) with the reality (as built) to verify its conformity.
Thanks to this superposition, the as-designed is compared to the as-built and if the real product is not in conformity with its digital twin, the defects are identified directly on the element and then notified to the technicians in charge of quality control and inspection.
⇒ This way, you can identify nonconformances all along the processes and reduce the number of errors generated in your factory.
Better work ergonomics for your operators
Another powerful advantage of a digital augmented reality solution is the gain in terms of ergonomics and work comfort that you can bring to the quality control agent.
Indeed, using such a solution means offering your teams a more intuitive and user-friendly tool, with even the possibility of working hands-free when combined with some specific hardware devices adapted to their work environment.
Tablet, remote camera, hololens … Many tools can be used but the choice depends on the context and use case: indeed it is necessary to take into account the environment of your technicians and the tasks to be performed to be able to opt for the most relevant equipment.
The restitution of non-visible information
What if the inspection process requires the control of elements and information invisible to the human eye? The solution works more or less the same way.
Let’s take the case of a non-destructive testing (NDT) by penetrant testing. Defects found during this inspection are not visible outside the inspection context as they are only visible under UV light.
During the inspection, the product is immersed in a fluorescent liquid which highlights non-conformities only under UV light but when the product is again placed under normal light they become imperceptible. With an augmented reality solution, the defect data collected during the UV light inspection can then be restituted directly on the inspected part and compared to its 3D model to identify differences and highlight defects.
In this context, AR will reproject and display information that would be invisible in another context and better support the operators dedicated to this operation, for example for efficient repair tasks.
A quality control solution to save time
Adopting a digital solution with augmented reality gives you the ability to reduce your cycle times and save time and energy. Indeed, with step-by-step guidance, your operators are more efficient in the inspection process and this contributes to reducing your inspection time. Moreover, in certain cases, your technicians can also be guided by automated inspection algorithms, which further increases your efficiency and therefore your time savings.
Then, with such technologies, defects (and their locations) are automatically referenced and mapped in the digital mock-up and real-time data is captured throughout the process (whether via photo captures, location of non-conformities…). Your teams no longer need to take time to do it and go back and forth between the shop floor and the office or compile it all in an inspection report, everything is done automatically!
Check the traceability of the control operations
Your inspection data is captured directly in the field and linked to the digital model, including images, annotations, inspection status, and defect and non-conformance information, to provide an objective and complete view of the product.
The data collected in the field is then compiled into a report and shared with the right people at the right time. This report is then available via a database or API for further analysis.
⇒ At Diota in this case, our solutions collect field data and automatically generate an inspection report to promote better digital continuity.
Quality control in industry: Reduce your non-conformities
We have mentioned it above, sometimes errors are detected late during the production process and these defects have a generally high cost because of:
- Actions to correct / repair the identified defects
- Production stoppage
- Back in production
- Additional quality control
- Logistics in case of end customer return
In addition, quality issues can also negatively impact the manufacturer’s image when they lead to customer dissatisfaction. This is why the detection of errors and non-conformities is a major challenge for the teams in charge of quality.
Again, in this context with the support of augmented reality, quality control and inspection operations are facilitated. The control instruction required for the operation to perform is displayed at the right time and at the right location , which helps to make the “right the first time“ a reality for your industry!
The information is materialized and made tangible in the field by means of AR and hardware devices allowing the technicians not to forget any control point.
Now that you’ve identified all the gains you can make with such solutions, how about taking it a step further? Discover real-life cases of AR in industry with our dedicated white paper.