Innovative products lead to more complex production steps in the precision assembly. The knowledge and experience in startup, setup processes and in the operation of the machines must be built up by employees of the company through training and experience, which is time-consuming and costly. If the employee leaves the company, this knowledge is often lost again.
In addition to the increasing requirements, new technologies are becoming available for industry, such as the new mobile communications standard 5G or augmented reality (AR), which experts believe will make digital support for production one of the key technologies of the future.
AR and 5G open up the possibility of digitally supporting machine operation in production. Intelligent, networked and adaptive production systems can counter the increasingly complex production steps and make knowledge available quickly, across locations and in context. Together with its industrial partners, oculavis, Hella and AIXEMTEC, the Fraunhofer IPT wants to use AR in the Augmented 5G project to provide intuitive instructions to the production staff. Personnel are trained more efficiently through a steeper learning curve. It will also be possible to provide location-independent customer support at any site worldwide without time-consuming business trips. The 5G-equipped site in Aachen helps to explore the possibilities of fast, stable data transmission.
To make AR guidance available for production, existing AR functionalities in remote assistance and support systems will be extended so that multiple data sources such as MES or simulation software can be integrated. In addition, functions are being evaluated to control machines in the context of the user's activity.
Generating content for AR and making CAD models usable for the technology has been a complex process up to now. A simplified, user-friendly standard is being developed in the project. The NRW site is thus helping to increase the efficiency of production through remote assistance.
As a company from the field of small and medium-sized enterprises, AIXEMTEC GmbH will test the use of AR instructions on its automated assembly cells for optical systems. Applications include, in particular, retooling, acceptance and remote support for machines and processes with the help of interactive elements in AR. Hella GmbH & Co. KGaA is looking at an adhesive joining process as a representative of large companies using the example of headlight assembly. The assembly cell is retooled with the help of AR technology. Also work instructions are transmitted to the worldwide production sites via remote support. Furthermore, the project partner considers the integration and fusion of data from MES and simulation systems of the existing company IT.
The integration of augmented reality into the production process is being handled by oculavis GmbH with the aim of creating a standard for the description and implementation of AR instructions in the production context. On the one hand, Fraunhofer IPT is helping to develop the instructions and, on the other hand, is providing the 5G network installed at the site. This allows the AR information to be displayed in combination with streaming content in high quality and stability conditions. In addition, the 5G technology can be tested for its suitability by implementing these concrete demonstrators from AR and comparing them with other communication technologies such as WiFi. Likewise, by combining the technologies, new cases such as a stop function, multimodal feedback loops and interactive content up to control of the machines will be tested for their feasibility.
The NRW site contributes to the further development of production and remote assistance through several innovations. The existing AR functionalities in remote assistance and support systems are extended for the first time by the suitable fusion of multiple data sources (e.g. integration of inventory systems such as MES or specific simulations) and at the same time a controlling integration of machine functions in the context of the current activity.
The complex processes for generating content for AR and making existing models such as complex CAD models usable for AR, are standardised and suitably simplified. In particular, the generation of high-performance AR models while retaining all relevant information is made possible in a user-friendly manner.
5G represents a new technology and is advertised with promises. These promises are validated and verified during the actual implementation in Augmented 5G and put in relation to other communication technologies such as WiFi. This also provides a cost-benefit assessment of the technically achievable functions in communication.