The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Reality (VR) in Manufacturing Industry
Developing virtual reality for the manufacturing industry is a recent stage of implementing VR into our life. Even though virtual reality only started to be part of the manufacturing business, it is meant to stay. According to the PWC, more than 1 in 3 manufacturers in the US are using or plan to use virtual reality in their business processes. From improving work safety, and employee training and giving a company a competitive edge in the market – there is nothing that VR can’t do for the business.
What Is VR in Manufacturing?
In an industry filled with many risks and dependency on great accuracy and deadlines, virtual reality in the manufacturing business has a goal of changing the way people work and what results they are getting. Implementation of virtual reality into the industry, helped it to transform in the wake of the increased digitalization and combat problems like a lack of skilled labour force and staff constant overproduction.
Now, virtual reality is used for product design and production, to oversee staff safety at work and to make manual time-consuming processes easier for the people that work in the industry. The technology has brought $924.7 million in 2018 in North America and is projected to bring even more.
How Does VR Help in Manufacturing Industry?
There are many ways VR changes the way the manufacturing industry works and these changes are evident from outside, as much as from within.
Workers in the manufacturing industry have to go through a thorough training stage to learn how to use multiple machines and technologies. VR manufacturing makes the job so much easier for them. For instance, wearing virtual reality goggles can give them powerful knowledge of the leading engineers and manufacturers with the ability to practice operations in virtual factory settings.
Factory Floor Planning
Floor planning is connected to the safety and effectiveness of work as nothing else. Engineers are learning how to use virtual reality to make the process of creating floors and cells more efficient. Only imagine, you can walk through the virtual building, look around, learn how it works and notices possible ways to improve it or avoid any mistakes without having to use money and effort to build an actual prototype. How much effort it saves!
To Design and Build New Products
Very connected to the previous way of using VR in manufacturing, designing new products becomes so much easier when you can see a virtual prototype of your design. Buildings require attention to detail and special carefulness to design because people will live inside relying on their safety. Experts predict that the design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA) tool will be a future for design in manufacturing.
Product and Equipment Testing
Testing is the final stage of product introduction into the world and VR can also help with that. When the industry requires a lot of equipment to create a reliable and effective product, every part of it has to be thoroughly checked and overseen as risk-free. Virtual technology can make the testing process more accessible as it doesn’t require creating products and any changes required can be first made to prototype without having to remake the product.
Remote Control of Equipment or Machines
Virtual reality makes it possible to solve the problem of lack of staff in the manufacturing industry. Equipment can be controlled using VR goggles from any place and, even, one person can control more than one machine. For instance, a company in Spain created technology that allows operating excavators from 2,500 km.
Trade events are taking a big part of the virtual reality introduction to the company’s business strategy. VR helps companies to tell the story and engage attendees in the experience fully. In the manufacturing industry, virtual reality technology took a fair place with engineers showing their projects in VR.
Advantages of VR in Manufacturing
There are obvious advantages of virtual reality in manufacturing as it helps engineers in more than one area of work.
- Increase productivity. Switching to virtual reality gives way to a faster and more effective production process. People have a chance to give the most time-consuming manual tasks to technology, giving their attention to something more important instead.
- Manufacture better products. Help in the production of products aided in creating the most high-quality projects, which is a guarantee of business success in general.
- Plan a safe space. Safety is the most essential thing manufacturers consider when they are creating their products. VR allows inspecting safety measures to the slightest detail and that is what improves the quality of the product overall.
- Reduce costs. We have talked about the decreased cost of manufacturing when there are fewer prototypes created. Using virtual prototypes, designers, manufacturers, and engineers have the ability to make their work more efficient.
- Increase availability of new products to market. Industrial virtual reality opens the doors for the customers to feel the manufacturing products closer and reach them through the VR manufacturing goggles from the safety of their homes.
- Improve employee safety. Improved staff training and the chance for employees to try themselves in possible risky situations make them more prepared for the work and help them understand safety measures better.
- Environmental friendliness of production and testing. The benefit we are rarely thinking about – how good it is for the environment that the constant creation of improved models is switched to virtual prototypes.
Best Companies Using VR in Manufacturing
Many companies now make VR manufacturing a significant part of their business life. We gathered 4 best examples.
Ford made virtual reality part of their design studio, creating Ford Immersive Vehicle Environment. This is the whole laboratory of new technologies that the company uses to create cars, not only designing and prototyping, but also making huge efforts to achieve the biggest customer safety.
Across a bunch of its brands, Unilever made a big entrance into the Metaverse. For instance, Rexona organized a marathon that happened entirely in virtual reality. They even created a virtual museum of ice cream which cannot seem more exciting. The company’s creation Sunsilk City virtual game is a safe space for girls around the world where they can feel included and follow their role models.
Fetch Robotics Warehouse Operations
A California-based company called French Robotics created a solution to make warehouse operations more accessible and faster. It made Autonomous Mobile Robots that were taught to look for the inventory, find it, deliver it to the destination or collect it. Imagine how much easier it makes the life of warehouse workers.
Volkswagen’s Automotive Cloud
Volkswagen created its own Creative Cloud for businesses in the automotive industry. Among its purposes, the Cloud has a data-driven approach to product development which is what VR is all about.
Stages of Implementing VR in an Existing Manufacturing Business
Virtual reality production can only make business better, so if you are thinking of creating a VR solution – be sure to properly consider the steps you would have to take.
- Strategize and prepare. The most important is creating a clear strategy of what you have to achieve with your VR solution. Whether it’s more sales or increased quality of the product – you should have a vision and only then write down the steps you need to take, the required budget and experts.
- Create your project. Once you have everything prepared, creating a project isn’t your hardest task. You will see that a clear strategy will lead you to quick results.
- Analyze the results. After everything is created, take a look at the outcome and ask yourself whether your project was successful.
If you are worried about implementing VR into your manufacturing business, you can as well refer to the experts. At WE/AR, we are helping companies from various industries to make virtual reality part of their business. We will help you find an area where VR will help you grow and improve processes, build a project plan and then implement and test. Contact us at email@example.com, and you can start communicating with one of our experts.