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AR at Work: The Leap into a new enterprise-based reality

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From the machine shop to the operating room, AR headset-maker Magic Leap details some real life use cases of its technology

TECH INFORMED – After making the pivot two years ago from entertainment to enterprise, AR headset vendor Magic Leap announced its plans to initially focus on three key areas: healthcare, manufacturing, and the public sector.

According to Lisa Watts, Magic Leap’s VP of product marketing and developer programs, workers in these fields are already becoming accustomed to donning new forms of wearable technology, and, she claims, there are a growing number of use cases with the ability to drive near and long-term return on investment.

Manufacturing – PBC Linear

PBC Linear is one of Northern Illinois’ largest machine shops but finding talented machinists has been a challenge for the manufacturer in recent years, according to the firm’s director of manufacturing engineering Tim Lecrone.

“Even ten years ago we had enough employees in our company with 20 to 30 years’ experience so we could bring in an experienced staff member and couple that person with the new employee for training on a machine for four to six weeks.

“But now this workforce has retired and this has created a shortage of employees that could do our training for us,” he explains.

After being introduced to AR training software outfit Taqtile, Lecrone said his firm was able to grasp how it could take that tribal knowledge and turn it into a set of augmented instructions that could be duplicated.

Taqtile’s learning platform Manifest is used with Magic Leap’s AR headset to enable manufacturers to capture knowledge from operators, engineers and managers and then distil it into a set of augmented instructions.

Manifest is used as a tool to define procedures in a simple way, with the capture process typically including 30 to 40 steps, that takes the learner roughly six hours to complete. The platform contains instructions, photos, videos, pointers and the means of being able to contact experts in real time.

“One benefit is that the trainee operator is able to see an exact instruction in a document and nothing’s getting lost in translation from the person giving it instruction,” Lecrone observes.

He adds that the factory also reduces wastage and saves money on parts that would previously have been scrapped during the training process.

“When you have a newer operator running the machine… It’s very easy to scrap, $200 parts and to scrap 50 or 60 of these $200 parts in one shift,” he explains. “AR mitigates this as the operator can look at the part or run a quick check to make sure the machine still operating correctly.”

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