At the time of the writing of this post, Wikipedia defined augmented reality as:
…an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real-world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory and olfactory.
Virtual reality, on the other hand:
…is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world.
When we look to automation, how might these technologies be applied to deliver value for manufacturers and producers? Control magazine’s Jim Montague explored this question in an article, Finding the value of AR, VR in process automation. Jim connected with people from several automation suppliers and I’ll highlight the contributions from the Emerson folks he interviewed.
Aaron Crews explained:
“It’s cool to have videogame-style graphics and content, but just ‘seeing’ isn’t where the value is. The question is what actionable data does AR provide, and can it provide it in the context for work that’s being done, such as where users are, what they’re looking at, and what they’re trying to accomplish…This can help users with tools to support them in the right time and place, be safer, and close the loop faster to get tasks done.”
Anna Veleña added:
…that one of AR’s primary advantages is that it can provide data to users within the context of a specific assets or application to:
- Improve the situational awareness of field workers by understanding what’s around them;
- Deliver knowledge on demand based on relevant information: and
- Provide live remote assistance, including securing expert input if needed.
Ronnie Bains shared:
“We refer to VR as an immersive environment for training and operations support, all enabled by the digital twin under the hood…In the real world, field operations personnel interact with field equipment, such as a manual valve, and need to locate it, and take action to maintain or operate it. In a VR setting, they see the corresponding valve and the effect of changing processing dynamics, and see what’s going on inside the valve with data from the digital twin. This is why digital twins must be first-principles-based, so they’ll be an accurate reflection of what the physical process is doing.
“After that, VR can be expanded to create a larger immersive environment, using existing 3D CAD files integrated into the VR solution, and enabling users to perform different activities. Technology has evolved dramatically over recent years, so these days it isn’t hard to develop routine operations into VR for subsequent training. Other use cases include crisis management and safety training, commissioning and support, planning shutdowns and turnarounds, and managing asset health.”
Read the article for 3 use cases for these technologies shared by Ronnie as well as perspectives expressed by other suppliers on how the application of these technologies are driving value through improved business performance.
Visit the Dynamic Simulation section on Emerson.com for more on these technologies to help improve your operational performance. Read here how Plantweb Optics utilize Augmented Reality in plant operation and maintenance. You can also connect and interact with other AR, VR and simulation experts in the Services group in the Emerson Exchange 365 community and/or at the September 23-27 Emerson Exchange conference in Nashville.