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Augmented Reality in Manufacturing

 “Once a new technology rolls over you, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.

Stewart Brand

Manufacturing requires Manpower.


But it also requires Technology and intelligence. 

And when Tech-pioneers blended these three together, what came out as a sole product is known as Augmented Reality. 

In recent years, technological advancements have been revolutionising the manufacturing industry. Among these breakthroughs, Augmented Reality (AR) has emerged as a game-changer, offering a wide array of applications that enhance productivity, safety, and efficiency in manufacturing processes. 

AR Manufacturing is a sophisticated kind of automation that integrates digital technology into the manufacturing process. It creates an augmented reality by fusing the real-world environment with data, interactive components, and computer-generated images. 

By enhancing the human potential, improving visibility into and control over the production process, enabling remote assistance at discreet locations, and making it simpler to customise items, AR manufacturing boosts production efficiency. 

With its ability to provide real-time, context-aware information, AR reduces errors, enhances safety, and accelerates the overall manufacturing process. 

By enabling production lines to become more swift, adaptable, and economical, this technology can completely change how factories function.

And the change has begun already!

How Augmented Reality is changing the Manufacturing Industry Standards : Advantages of AR in Manufacturing!

There’s a 30% increase in employee satisfaction, and 10% to 15% higher knowledge retention at Walmart! 

How? By using AR/VR Headsets.

Yes…Walmart has started rolling out more than 17,000 VR headsets throughout the U.S., for their more than one million employees to effectively and quickly learn key skills.

Let’s understand with an example.

Have you got any broken machine in your industry that would take hours even days to get repaired using people?

And, maybe it’s also not safe for the people to fix it without putting themselves in danger, so by using Augmented Reality, you can create a digital twin of it, analyse the exact problem, find the right solution for the machine and fix it in no time. 

Easy, right?

Augmented reality overlays digital information onto the real world, enhancing the user’s perception and interaction with their surroundings. 

In the manufacturing industry, AR is ushering in a new era of efficiency, safety, and productivity. 

Let’s explore how augmented reality is changing manufacturing industry standards – 

1 – Improved Product Design and Visualization:

The product designing process is as interesting as complex, and a lot depends on it. 

Now, AR in manufacturing provides engineers and designers with visualisations to interact with their creations. 

Let’s see it in this way, traditional 2D blueprints and computer-aided design (CAD) models have limits when it comes to fully comprehending the scale, proportions, and spatial relationships of complex products. 

AR solves this particular problem of designers and engineers.

Designers can superimpose digital models onto the real world, enabling them to view and manipulate virtual prototypes as if they were physical objects. This immersive experience facilitates better design decisions, helps identify potential issues early on, and streamlines the design iteration process.

To cut the story short, it boosts their productivity!

2 – Enhanced Worker Training and Skills Development:

Boring and Time-consuming would be the right words for the way workers are trained in the manufacturing industry.


Now how AR solves this problem?

By providing hands-on and interactive learning experience!

Yes…AR allows workers to acquire skills more efficiently, to access real-time instructions, step-by-step guidance, and overlaid visual cues, which ultimately improves their understanding and reduces the risk of errors. 

Also, what about the machine support and reparing which can be dangerous and inaccessible to humans?

For this, AR simulates dangerous or inaccessible environments, which enables workers to practise in a safe and controlled setting before actually going for the real one. 

Hence saves a lot of time and lives!

3 – Streamlined Manufacturing Processes:

Information and assistance are vital for any manufacturing industry to grow.  

AR provides real-time information and assistance to workers on the shop floor. 

Using AR-enabled devices, workers can receive contextualised instructions, access relevant data, and visualise information directly in their field of view. 

Also, Augmented Reality enables remote collaboration, where experts can guide on-site technicians virtually, minimising downtime and travel costs.

This reduces errors and increases productivity!

4 – Quality Assurance and Maintenance:

Quality Assurance and Maintenance support is something every manufacturing industry requires and here AR can help. 


By overlaying real-time sensor data onto physical equipment, technicians can quickly detect anomalies, monitor performance, and diagnose issues. 

Apart from that, AR provides visual indicators and guided workflows for maintenance tasks, ensuring that technicians at the maintenance follow the correct procedures and reducing the risk of errors. 

This results in faster troubleshooting, reduced equipment downtime, and improved overall equipment effectiveness!

7 Popular Use Cases & Trends of AR in Manufacturing 

Do you know that AR can take Warplanes beyond the clouds!

With Augmented Reality, assembling and repairing warplane F-35s  becomes simpler. The engineers at ‘Lockheed Martin’ says AR headset offers cameras, depth and motion sensors with instructional updates providing results that are 30% faster and 96% more accurate than earlier. 

Let’s analyse these 7 popular use cases of some of the most prominent Manufacturing companies using AR along with real-world examples!

1 – Product Design and Prototyping

AR enables manufacturers to visualise and refine product designs in a virtual environment before physical production begins. 

For instance, Volkswagen utilises AR to create virtual prototypes, allowing designers to evaluate vehicle interiors without building physical models. This reduces costs, speeds up the design process, and facilitates collaboration among stakeholders.

2 – Assembly and Maintenance

AR empowers manufacturing workers by providing them with real-time guidance during complex assembly and maintenance tasks. 

In layman’s terms, with the help of AR, instructions, diagrams, and 3D models get overlaid onto physical objects, which guide workers through each step while repairing. 

For example, Boeing, a leading aircraft manufacturer, employs AR headsets to assist technicians during the assembly process. The AR system displays wire routing and other critical information, reducing errors, improving efficiency, and minimising training time.

3 – Quality Control and Inspection

By using Augmented Reality,  manufacturers can compare virtual models with physical products, identifying discrepancies, defects, or missing components. 

For instance, General Electric (GE) employs AR headsets to inspect wind turbine blades. Technicians can visualise a blade’s design and compare it to the physical structure, ensuring accuracy and detecting any potential flaws with greater efficiency.

4 – Training and Skills Development

One of the key advantages of AR in the manufacturing industry is that it provides an immersive training environment for workers to acquire new skills and knowledge. 

Ultimately, AR enhances training effectiveness and reduces the risk of errors. 

Namely, Toyota utilises AR to train assembly line workers, guiding them through complex processes and enhancing their understanding of assembly techniques, safety protocols, and quality standards.

5 – Supply Chain Optimization

Now here comes the technical part.

AR optimises supply chain operations by providing real-time visibility into inventory, logistics, and order fulfilment. 

Imagine that digital information is overlaid onto physical assets, just as sunglasses are overlaid on our faces while using Snapchat. 

This helps warehouse shelves workers or delivery vehicles to track inventory levels, monitor shipments, and identify bottlenecks. 

For example, DHL, a global logistics company, utilises smart glasses with AR capabilities to improve warehouse operations. Warehouse workers can visualise real-time inventory information and receive instructions on optimal picking routes, leading to increased efficiency and reduced errors.

6 – Remote Assistance and Collaboration

Using Maps in your mobile, you can track your food deliveries and even connect with the delivery person, right?

AR enables exactly that for manufacturing workers. 

It provides remote assistance and collaborates with on-site personnel in real time. By sharing a live AR view of a situation, experts can guide workers through complex tasks or troubleshoot problems from a distance. 

For instance, Thyssenkrupp Elevator employs AR glasses to assist field service technicians in elevator maintenance. Experts can overlay instructions, schematics, and diagrams onto the technician’s field of view, improving efficiency and minimising downtime.

7 – Workplace Safety and Hazard Mitigation

Human lives matter above all, and statistical data show that the manufacturing industry often involves a lot of mishappenings!

AR can make manufacturing a lot safer!

AR enhances workplace safety by overlaying real-time safety information and alerts onto the physical environment. Workers can be alerted to potential hazards, restricted areas, or safety procedures through visual cues displayed on AR devices. 

For example, workers in hazardous environments, such as chemical plants or construction sites, can utilise AR to visualise safety zones, escape routes, or hazardous material warnings. This increases situational awareness and helps prevent accidents.

AR in Aerospace & Defence Manufacturing: 5 Use Cases with Examples 

Do you know that NASA is now training astronauts using AR/VR Simulations!


The Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Industry is taking the most advantage out of this new technology called Augmented Reality. 

Let’s walk through this with these 5 use cases of AR in the Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Industry. 

1 – Design and Prototyping

AR allows engineers to visualise complex systems and structures in real-time. 

With AR, designers can overlay virtual 3D models onto physical objects, providing a better understanding of the final product and facilitating design iterations.

Example: Lockheed Martin, a leading aerospace manufacturer, has adopted AR to enhance the design process for their next-generation fighter jets. Using AR headsets, engineers can examine virtual prototypes and assess the integration of various components, improving the accuracy and efficiency of the design process.

2 – Assembly and Manufacturing

AR is streamlining the assembly and manufacturing processes in the aerospace and defence industry by providing real-time guidance and instructions to workers. 

AR enables technicians to see visual cues, and real-time data during assembly, reducing errors and increasing productivity.

Example: Boeing, a renowned aircraft manufacturer, has implemented AR in their assembly lines to improve efficiency and quality control. AR headsets guide workers through complex assembly procedures, highlighting the correct tools, components, and assembly sequences, resulting in a significant reduction in assembly time and error rates.

3 – Maintenance and Repair

Why is there a need for remote assistance in manufacturing ?

To make maintenance and repair easy, effective and time-saving.  

In the aerospace and defence sector, timely and accurate maintenance and repair are critical for ensuring the safety and performance of aircraft and defence systems. AR provides technicians with augmented visualisations, enabling them to identify and resolve issues more efficiently.

Example: The United States Air Force technicians wearing AR glasses can access real-time maintenance manuals, view 3D visualisations of complex systems, and receive on-the-spot guidance, reducing maintenance downtime and improving the accuracy of repairs.

4 -Training and Simulation

AR enables trainees to practise complex procedures and scenarios without the need for physical prototypes or costly equipment.

Example: The British Army has adopted AR for training soldiers in complex helicopter maintenance tasks. Through AR headsets, trainees can practise maintenance procedures in a virtual environment, simulating realistic scenarios and receiving instant feedback, leading to improved training outcomes and reduced training costs.

5 – Quality Control and Inspection

AR technology plays a vital role in quality control and inspection processes in aerospace and defence manufacturing. 

AR enables inspectors to identify defects, measure tolerances, and verify compliance with design specifications more accurately.

Example: Airbus, a prominent aircraft manufacturer, utilises AR for quality control inspections. Inspectors wearing AR glasses can compare virtual CAD models with the actual aircraft, visually highlighting any deviations or discrepancies, leading to improved accuracy and reduced inspection time.

5 Use cases of Product Development using Augmented Reality: How AR Transforms Product Development 

Let’s quickly explore the incredible applications of augmented reality in product development. 

1 – Visualizing Concepts and Design 

With AR, product developers can create virtual prototypes and superimpose them onto physical spaces, allowing them to examine the size, shape, and functionality of a product before it is manufactured. 

This capability enhances design accuracy, reduces costly iterations, and accelerates the overall design process.

For instance, automotive manufacturers like Volvo have implemented AR in their design process. Using AR, designers can overlay virtual prototypes onto real car frames, enabling them to evaluate the placement of components, check visibility, and optimise the overall design without building physical prototypes. This significantly reduces time and costs associated with traditional design iterations.

2 – Interactive Product Demonstrations 

As we all know, traditionally, product demonstrations have relied on physical prototypes or 2D renderings. 

However, with AR, product developers can provide interactive and engaging demonstrations to potential stakeholders. By simply using a mobile device or specialised AR headset, users can experience the product in a virtual environment, interacting with it, exploring its features, and gaining a deeper understanding of its functionality. 

This immersive experience enables companies to showcase their products effectively, leading to increased customer engagement and more informed decision-making.

For example – 

L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app employs AR to enable users to try on different makeup products virtually. By using the front camera of a smartphone, the app maps the user’s face and overlays the chosen makeup products, providing a realistic visualisation of the final look.

Also, the Indian company, Lneskart has recently launched an AR application on mobile devices where you can try various glasses and once finalised can order the same through the application, without even leaving your bedroom!

3 – Streamlining Collaboration

With AR-enabled platforms, geographically dispersed teams can work together in real-time, sharing their ideas and designs seamlessly. 

For example, multiple team members can simultaneously view and manipulate 3D models, annotate virtual prototypes, and communicate through augmented reality conferencing. This level of collaboration fosters creativity, reduces communication barriers, and enhances productivity throughout the product development lifecycle.

4 – Iterative Design and Rapid Prototyping

AR eliminates the need for physical prototypes at every iteration, reducing material waste and accelerating the development cycle. 

Think of all the waste of material while making cars!

And now think of how many cars there are in the world, and how much material must have been wasted during the process which ultimately affects our environment causing global warming!

AR  can solve the problem of Global warming in this process. 

AR allows for quick and accurate testing of different design variations, ensuring that potential flaws or improvements are identified early on, ultimately resulting in better products.

For instance, automotive giant BMW utilises AR technology to enable designers to visualise and evaluate new car designs in real-time. This not only expedites the design process but also enables rapid iterations and reduces the time-to-market.

5 – Enhancing User Experience Testing 

By simulating real-world scenarios through AR applications, developers can gather valuable user feedback and analyse how their products interact with the environment and users. 

Consequently, AR facilitates the creation of user-centred products that meet the evolving needs and expectations of the target audience.

For example, Furniture retailer IKEA, for instance, provides an AR-powered app that allows customers to visualise how furniture pieces would look in their homes. By placing virtual objects in real space, customers can assess size, colour, and style options, facilitating confident purchasing decisions and reducing returns.

Future of Industrial Manufacturing using Augmented Reality 

As manufacturing processes become more complex and demand for efficiency increases, AR is emerging as a game-changer in the industry.

Let’s checkout its Future! 

Product Design and Prototyping

AR enables engineers and designers to visualise their concepts in real-time, make modifications on the go, and collaborate with remote teams more effectively.

By utilising AR, manufacturers can accelerate the design process, reduce errors, and bring products to market faster.

Assembly and Maintenance Processes 

With AR headsets, workers can access step-by-step instructions and visual cues in real-time, eliminating the need for physical manuals or referring to computer screens. 

Moreover, AR can provide real-time feedback on quality control, detecting defects or anomalies during the production process, leading to higher-quality products.

Remote Collaboration and Training 

This AR technology is particularly beneficial in global manufacturing operations, allowing real-time troubleshooting, reducing downtime, and minimising travel costs. 

In the near-future, AR can revolutionise training programs by simulating real-world scenarios and providing immersive experiences that help new employees learn complex tasks quickly and efficiently.

Data Visualization and Predictive Analytics 

In industrial manufacturing, data plays a crucial role!

Augmented reality can enhance data visualisation by performance metrics, and analytics onto physical assets or machinery. 

This real-time visibility empowers operators to monitor production processes effectively, identify bottlenecks, and implement timely adjustments for improved efficiency.

AR can also leverage predictive analytics to anticipate maintenance needs, enabling proactive repairs and minimising costly downtime.

Looking ahead, the future potential of augmented reality in manufacturing is vast. 

Final Words 

As AR technology continues to evolve, we can expect more sophisticated applications, such as the integration of machine learning and computer vision algorithms. 

Additionally, advancements in wearable AR devices, such as lighter and more comfortable headsets, will further enhance adoption and make AR an indispensable tool in the manufacturing industry.

Augmented reality is poised to become an integral part of the manufacturing landscape, unlocking new possibilities and driving us towards a more sustainable world!