AR-supported assembly workplace of Fraunhofer IGD – a core application of the Industrial Metaverse.
Guided through assembly as if by magic
Industrial assembly lines are diverse: Some work with frequently changing product structures, while others are characterized by complex processes and a high need for coordination between workers and other experts. Fraunhofer IGD supports users with a combination of augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) in the challenges of production. The solution consists of an AR-supported assembly workstation that guides employees through the assembly sequence and at the same time enables quality control of the components and remote support. In this way, companies reduce the error rate and cost-intensive downtimes. The researchers will present the software at the CONTROL trade fair and at HANNOVER MESSE.
The augmented reality glasses on your head and the sequence and alignment of the components right in front of your eyes: This is not a vision of the future, but is already simplifying production processes today. The AR-supported assembly workstation from the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD makes paper instructions superfluous. Instead, four cameras record the work area and guide workers through the individual steps via a mobile AR output unit, for example using a tablet or AR glasses.
Immediate feedback avoids errors
The person grabs the wrong component? A visual error message including the display of the correct element appears immediately in their field of vision. The component fits, but is positioned incorrectly? In this case, too, feedback is given. The same applies if the component has a defect such as a missing drill hole. “The software prevents errors from occurring in the assembly process and, if necessary, even continues production with this defect,” explains Andreas Franek, deputy head of the “Virtual and Augmented Reality” department. “Because if discrepancies are only discovered later, this entails increased effort and cost-intensive downtimes.”
This support is in demand, for example, in the automotive sector, but also in plant and tool construction and in quality assurance. The manufacturing process of batteries and individually constructed control cabinets are also possible fields of application. The software offers another advantage, especially for complex product structures: If questions or problems arise, an external expert can be called in without delay to support the person on the assembly line. She can explain in direct virtual presence and make comments in the field of vision – and thus on the object. By using immersive AR technologies, the expert appears directly in the environment, in the user’s experience space, which ensures natural communication and interaction – as if both participants were physically present. This form of telepresence is a core application of the “Industrial Metaverse”.
Train AI with CAD models
In developing the technology, Franek and his team combined augmented reality with machine learning methods. “The AI is trained with computer-generated images based on the CAD models – it does not need real photos. This reduces the respective lead time,” explains the scientist. In addition, the further work step from the CAD models to the designed and printed work instructions, which up to now in many places still specify the order of assembly, is no longer necessary.
Interested parties can try out the AR-supported assembly workstation at the trade fairs themselves on a machine tool and let the AI guide them through the process. For particularly tricky assembly tasks, they too can be supported via the remote maintenance function.
For this and all other Fraunhofer IGD exhibits at HANNOVER MESSE: https://www.igd.fraunhofer.de/de/veranstaltungen/hannover-messe.html
AR-supported assembly workstation from Fraunhofer IGD at:
-HANNOVER FAIR -17.-21. April 2023 / Fraunhofer joint booth /Hall 16, booth A12
– CONTROL, Stuttgart – 09.-12. May 2023 / Hall 7, Stand 7301
About Fraunhofer IGD:
Since 1987, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research IGD has been setting international standards for applied research in visual computing, image and model-based computer science. We transform information into images and images into information and support industry and business in developing strategically. Keywords are human-machine interaction, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, interactive simulation, modeling as well as 3D printing and 3D scanning. Around 190 researchers at the three locations in Darmstadt, Rostock and Kiel are generating new technological application solutions and prototypes for Industry 4.0, digital health care and the “Smart City”. Our products develop international relevance through cooperation with our sister institutes in Graz and Klagenfurt. With the help of our matrix organization, we serve our customers from a wide variety of industries with relevant technical and competitive services. For this we have industry-experienced, cross-functional teams of experts who also take over planning, management and evaluation for all project sizes.
Fraunhofer Institute for Graphic Data Processing IGD
+49 6151 155-146