Manufacturing Execution System • November 10, 2020

Connected Workers Promote Manufacturing Operations Excellence with Smart Glasses

iBase-t Experts

Connected Workers Promote Manufacturing Operations Excellence with Smart Glasses

At Excelerate Innovation 2020, Michelle Krogmeier and I jointly presented our new Smart Glasses solution now available as a partnership offering between iBase-t and Proceedix. During this presentation, we shared the first look at our joint development efforts for enabling connected workers on the shop floor. 

In a COVID-19 impacted economy, businesses are looking for new ways to empower workers, keep them safe, and improve their productivity. Much of the industry hype today is about augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) changing the way people interact and work. The iBase-t/Proceedix approach with Smart Glasses has been to focus on the shop floor worker and enable what we are calling “informed reality.” By leveraging Proceedix’s experience with Google Glass and other smart glasses offerings, iBase-t has demonstrated what the next generation user interface to the Solumina iSeries could look like.

Read more about the Proceedix & iBase-t partnership announcement.

Smart Glasses on the Shop Floor

There are several options for bringing AR/VR to the shop floor ranging from 3D animations delivered on tablets to immersive environments displayed on VR headsets. In many cases, these approaches prove difficult to deploy on the shop floor. 

Full VR headsets are relatively heavy so can fatigue a wearer after a short time. They also can block the view of the actual environment. Tablets can overcome both of those problems but can be misplaced, dropped, or distracting. Lightweight display devices such as Google Glass, however, offer a suitable alternative. This was one of the reasons why iBase-t opted to partner with Proceedix to deliver this Smart Glasses solution. 

Read the Smart Glasses datasheet.

Operators can readily adapt to these devices. They can be used with safety glass or prescription lenses while being easily transferred among operators at shift change or as required.

Going Handsfree

The Smart Glasses solution that is being delivered is currently a prototype that provides the following capabilities:

  • Heads up display of work instructions
  • Hands-free operation and data collection
  • Built-in statistics to track and improve the shop floor process

The benefits of using Smart Glasses have been proven in several field trials. One of the unexpected benefits to having work instructions and the relevant data collection “attached” to the operator is the significant reduction of idle time as operators no longer need to go look at a terminal or display, return to the workstation, perform the task, and then turn back to the terminal/display to input required information. 

The anticipated benefits of having work instructions available in real-time and being able to collect data at the source in an existing implementation yielded significant results including:

  • Reducing final inspection time by 30%-32%
  • Reducing defects by 25%
  • Reduced cycle time of 40%

Together, these benefits yielded a 77% increase in production capacity in four weeks.

Looking for Development Partners

Currently, iBase-t has developed the necessary API’s to implement the Smart Glasses interface with Solumina iSeries. We are now looking for customer partners that are interested in helping carry this project through to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) status.  iBase-t can accept Solumina G-Series customers into the project, but additional work would be required to build appropriate API’s. 

The need for improved operator performance is only going to increase. By investing in technology to empower the connected worker, iBase-t believes we can deliver our customers a solution that will help them going forward. 

Existing iBase-t customers can view a recording of our joint Smart Glasses presentation from Excelerate Innovation 2020 once again by using your login credentials.

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