It is not surprising that the aerospace and defense industry exists at a higher plane of manufacturing. The components and end products being assembled must endure intense forces and pressures, are expected to perform without failure, and even the slightest mistake comes with extreme safety risks.
To meet these extraordinary demands, aerospace firms have developed highly technical and complex manufacturing processes that require significant training. Augmented reality (AR) can help improve these processes, from reducing task and training times to increasing accuracy and technician performance. The results include faster processes, fewer errors and reduced risk.
Tasks that are relatively mundane and inexpensive in other industries can be enormously expensive in the aerospace industry. Processes like torque applications, fastener attachments and drilling must be executed perfectly or will require costly rework or repair.
To avoid these costs and delays, extensive manuals are created and methodical processes defined. These types of applications are where AR shines and where the potential savings contribute to a high ROI.
While the resulting ROI from just a single task can be significant, the cost of labor and time are just two of the benefits AR can deliver.
Additional benefits of the technology include reducing or eliminating rework, improving accuracy and reducing downstream costs and potential safety risks. When you add it all up, it is easy to recognize AR’s value.
To provide some real-world perspective, aerospace vehicles typically contain thousands of miles of wire, requiring many fasteners and clips—all with precise attachment points. Simply marking the location of these attachment points can take weeks.
Lockheed Martin is using augmented reality to enable both a faster and more accurate location of the attachment points. A process that originally required eight shifts and two technicians has now been reduced to just 2.5 hours and a single technician.