MiMfg Sep/Oct 2022 - Page 6

6 MiMfg Magazine September / October 2022

MFG Game Changers

Improving Operations and Training with Augmented Reality

Manufacturing is evolving at a rapid pace with the continued investment in Industry 4.0 technologies . Now those same machine-based concepts are being applied to human-based processes such as assembly and training through the use of augmented reality ( AR ).
Paul Ryznar is the CEO and Founder of LightGuide , a company that ’ s dedicated to improving manual processes for manufacturers through projection-based AR . The traditional training process , conducted through written manuals and guided by people , is now evolving through projected visual guidance platforms which increase efficiency and reduce waste .
After having spent decades in manufacturing working for companies like GM , Bosch and others , Ryznar realized a lot of waste and inefficiency occurs through unreliable processes that will ultimately produce inconsistent results .
“ Quite honestly , it ’ s the pain of being head of operations or plant manager and missing profit targets due to the costs of poor quality involving scrap , inspection , rework or warranty costs ,” says Ryznar . “ All of those are non-value-added costs in factories because something wasn ’ t done properly the first time .”
It may seem counterintuitive that LightGuide is doing so much work to improve manual human processes while manufacturers are investing heavily in automation tools . However , roughly 72 percent of all manufacturing processes are still performed by humans and Ryznar doesn ’ t see that changing a lot in the future .
“ Even though it tends to get a little bit more automated every year , it is still going to be people doing work in manufacturing for many , many years ,” says Ryznar .
LightGuide ’ s vision for the manufacturing industry is to focus on the prevention of errors . Vision cameras are often used to identify mistakes , but they only check for mistakes after the fact .
“ If a vision camera detects a mistake , you then need to spend time and money to rework that part because it was not performed correctly the first time . And , a lot of times , a rework increases the risk of a warranty claim ,” says Ryznar .
A better solution is to prevent errors from happening during the manufacturing process . Using projected , AR-guided work instructions , a no-fault forward approach is created that ensures that each assembly step is properly performed before moving to the next step .
There are inefficiencies when it comes to employee training as well . Whether a new worker is being onboarded or an existing employee is moving to a new operation , in both cases somebody needs to be pulled off the line for a day or more . It can result in downtime and lost productivity .
“ Now you have two people involved in the training . You have
Learn More About LightGuide Inc .
Headquarters : Wixom Web : lightguidesys . com
the person being trained and the person who is training them . That ’ s a lot of labor cost and lost productivity every time somebody needs to be trained ,” says Ryznar .
LightGuide delivers immersive , interactive training on or off the line in a real hands-on production environment rather than in a simulation .
The LightGuide technology has also had significant impact for training and including people with disabilities , providing more accessibility in manufacturing work .
“ There are about 1.3 billion people around the world with some form of mental or physical disability ,” says Ryznar . “ Augmented reality has proven to help people that were told they ’ ll never be able to work in a regular setting . That ’ s a very , very rewarding part of our business .”
At the end of the day , improving the accuracy and engagement level of training will not only help address inefficiencies but also help address the talent crisis . Ryznar calls it the “ gamification of training .”

“ It ’ s a fun way to learn ,” says Ryznar . “ Hopefully this is a way to capitalize on STEM programs and help bring even more people into this super exciting field of manufacturing .” 6