PTC: Transforming Industrial Operations with Augmented Reality

CIO Vendor The physical and digital worlds were always disconnected before the advent of IoT. IoT platforms facilitated organizations to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world by collecting and combining data from multiple devices and platforms. From factory floors to farmlands, IoT has penetrated into every domain. It has created a data deluge, by connecting the sensors and actuators to the cloud. Therefore, to unlock the true potential of this burgeoning data, a visually efficient medium that is easily scalable and user friendly is required. Finding such a technology is quite a challenge. Augmented Reality is the solution to that challenge and has made it easier to connect the digital and physical world.

Moreover, with the invention of Augmented Reality, it has become easier for developers to integrate digital information with the user's environment in real time. In other words, AR is integrating real and computer based scenes and images to deliver a unified and enhanced view of the world, which is done by overlaying new information on top of the existing environment. However, the industrial companies today are looking for solutions that would help them deliver AR content to transform operations in order to increase business profitability.

Perfectly understanding the requirements and endeavoring to address them, PTC offers Vuforia Studio, one of the most advanced and widely adopted Augmented Reality technology platforms in the industry. Vuforia Studio provides industrial companies with tools to quickly create and widely deliver AR content that transforms operations, facilitates knowledge transfer and improves profitability. Leveraging the richness of 3D and the insights from IoT, the users of this tool can deliver compelling augmented reality experiences to improve efficiencies, build better products and at the same time increase employee productivity.

Vuforia is widely known as the industry leader in the industrial augmented reality through its best in class computer vision technology, robust tracking capabilities and breadth of platform support. Through its drag and drop interface, content creators can rapidly create content in an intuitive visual authoring environment, which in turn helps in the reduction of development costs and complexities. This platform delivers powerful, industrial AR technology that connects the digital and physical work spaces. It enables meaningful, actionable 3D interactions with facilities, processes and products in the industrial world.

"Experiences created in Vuforia Studio can be used to empower service technicians with realtime access to AR guided repair procedures, improve assembly time and operator efficiency with step-by-step manufacturing work instructions; and also improve knowledge transfer through AR driven trainings that reduces cost and time for training the workforce," affirms Kalyan Sridhar, VP & Country Manager at PTC. The Vuforia Platform is the most widely used software platform for augmented reality applications on hand held and head worn devices as well. It delivers a cross platform solution for developers so that they can attach digital content to the physical objects and environments. For consumers and businesses,it provides communications solutions for remote assistance and collaboration. And for device manufacturers, it delivers critical technology blocks that provide optimized experiences on rapidly evolving hardware technologies.

Enterprise Integration and Scalability
As time progresses and customer deployments expand, products, solutions and systems can face numerous scalability issues. Also, new and larger demands can be placed upon the original architecture. Therefore to cater to these needs, Vuforia Studio which is built and designed for Enterprise Integration, scaling and security facilitates industrial companies to deliver enterprise scalability, thus allowing them to access and view AR experiences across the enterprises from a single universal application called Vuforia View. Moreover, the experiences authored in Vuforia Studio can be deployed to the cloud or onpremise and accessed from smart phones, tablets or wearable devices (iOS, Android, Windows) through Vuforia View. Developing and Scaling enterprise ready industrial AR experiences that simplify and improve service, manufacturing, sales and marketing has become faster and easier with the help of Vuforia Studio.

Kalyan Sridhar further elaborates,“PTC’s Vuforia augmented reality solutions enable dramatic improvements in worker productivity for the industrial enterprises as they undergo the digital transformation. Through immersive interactions and guidance, Vuforia’s AR experiences enable increased worker efficiency, enabling companies to reduce costs associated with scrap and rework and improve quality.”

This tool accelerates content creation by building better experiences by efficiently reusing 3D CAD and animated sequences.Built for Enterprise integration, scaling and security, Vuforia Studio facilitates in reducing the development cost and complexity by leveraging existing 3D data, animated sequences and IoT data.

Actionable Intelligence for Optimal Design, Manufacturing
Augmented Reality is transforming the automotive, Industrial and Aerospace & Defense sector. By harnessing the power of AR, organizations are increasing productivity, manufacturing higher quality products and transforming service & operations. How does AR help in reaping the above said benefits in these sectors?

“Based on working with many Automotive and Industrial companies; they can use AR to transform their sales, manufacturing and service operations. They can use AR to launch their products in spectacular fashion, display their products without physically transporting them and provide end user unique digital experience to configure and create their own version of the
vehicle. This will greatly boost the sales. With step by step AR guided instructions manufacturing can improve operator’s efficiency on the shop floor and then transform the service business by creating AR experiences repairs and maintenance for service technicians. Training is another area where companies can leverage AR as their service technicians and dealer network is massive with huge attrition. AR is great technology for training and this will help to differentiate themselves in the market from the competition,” explains Hardhyan Singh Sohal, Subject Matter Expert for Augmented Reality Solutions at PTC India.

PTC's Vuforia augmented reality solutions enable dramatic improvements in worker productivity for the industrial enterprises as they undergo the digital transformation

He further explains, “As the Aerospace and Defense companies build and move complex machines every day, it is highly imperative for them to keep quality and metrics as the key drivers to ensure success in such a complex and impactful industry. Whether it is an unplanned maintenance or a mishandled bag, exceptions create downtime and rework that directly affect the bottom line. Therefore, it is imperative for the A&D companies to improve the maintenance and services through AR solutions. Moreover, moving from the traditional documented procedures for service and maintenance, the Aerospace & Defense companies are looking for AR driven instructions, animations that are paired with insights from a real time IoT data, enabling technicians to leverage the information when they need it.

As a leader in preparing the Aerospace & Defense companies for the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, PTC enables actionable intelligence to optimally design, manufacture and sustain warfighter and industrial systems. It helps companies to achieve this through its AR solutions for Aerospace and Defense. This solution has the capability to integrate and obtain data and layer them on top of the digital AR experiences of the aircraft andother related accessories which helps in understanding the configurations, inventory data etc.

Increasing Workforce effectiveness and efficiency anytime anywhere
Technicians facing complex challenges are looking for communication medium that could facilitate them to communicate with organization experts. PTC’s Vuforia Chalk a powerful and intuitive remote assistance app enables organization experts to effectively communicate and provide real-time assistance to technicians facing complex or unfamiliar challenges. This app helps to provide quick communication of service and maintenance team with subject matter expert for their expertise and guidance to resolve issues. It is designed to deliver faster resolution and it endows the industrial enterprise with rapid and cost effective method in the hands of service and operations technicians.

One of the most important components required by AR is powerful hardware to support advanced computer vision work and it helps in visualizing the AR/VR experiences. With PTC’s AR solutions, there are no restrictions on using any specific hardware devices. These solutions can be integrated with wide range of iOS, Android, and Windows hardware devices so that it doesn’t create hurdle for consumers to visualize AR experiences.

PTC’s leading IoT and AR platform and field proven solutions bring together the physical and digital worlds to reinvent the way organizations create, operate and service products. With PTC, global manufacturers and an ecosystem of partners and developers can capitalize on the promise of the IoT today and drive the future of innovation.

Dhirendra Kulkarni sums up PTC augmented reality solution, “Starting from Vuforia Studio to quickly create AR experiences in codeless environment by reusing existing design 3D data, Vuforia Chalk for remote assistance, Vuforia Engine for custom development and Vuforia Expert Capture(latest in the series) to capture experienced workforce knowledge, PTC is uniquely positioned to offer complete end to end solution in this segment.” Moving forward, PTC is working on developing more solutions and capabilities based on Mixed Reality, advanced technologies such as immersive 3D technology and spatial capture solutions with focus on factories, plants and other spaces.

Reaching New Level of Workforce Efficiency
According to a recent research report, ten million jobs with manufacturing companies cannot be filled immediately due to growing skill gap. By pairing up that with the retiring workforce, strict compliance, and safety requirements, it becomes evident that there is a need for transformation. Perfectly understanding these requirements, PTC has developed Vuforia Expert Capture that addresses these challenges by delivering the tribal information and knowledge of experts to the rest of the workforce. This end-to-end augmented reality solution empowers front line workers to deliver increased business value by always having the relevant procedural guidance to get the work done quickly, accurately and safely the first time and every time.

Capture Video Procedures Step-by-step
By using the Vuforia Capture app on an AR/MR headset, experts can capture firstperson, step-by-step video of procedures as they perform them. The entire capture process is controlled by voice commands, gestures and it includes location-based steps. Once a procedure has been captured, it can be revised and enhanced before publishing. When an employee is all set to use the captured work instructions, they can access them through the universal Vuforia View application in 2D or 3D.