How Control Applications Are Using An Augmented Reality

There are computer systems today that are focused on the concept of holograms, some of which are capable of producing and designing a three-dimensional augmented reality (AR). Looking at the process data, in conjunction with integrated human-machine control systems and data acquisition software, it may be possible to create this reality sooner than we think. It is sometimes helpful to take a step back in order to appreciate the advantages of new tools.

How Control Applications Are Using An Augmented Reality

Nearly 50 years ago, the concept of a programming logic controller (PLC), was born. The effects can still be seen in solutions related to automation. PC-based software was developed soon after. However, early iterations had a largely text-based design.

Using a graphical interface along with Windows, provided an easy way for automation software to monitor and control equipment through two-dimensional graphic symbols. These symbols grew in complexity over time. A paradigm shift occurred in process control when processors used 64 total bits. This increased amount of speed could be used to collect critical data. The images from the software-rendered quickly in a three-dimensional format. This allows for a more lifelike representation and connection between the local environment and related objects. 

Innovation was not possible because of these advancements in technology. PLCs led to more control with GUIs made things easier for operators. Advancements in graphics processing also occurred. Using holographic computing will be the next step utilizing advanced equipment that can make proverbial digital duplicates.

Additional features that depend on the location

The many AR/data mobility features that are available in manufacturing and process control applications include compatibility with holographic computing units. NFC (Near field communication) are additional location-based features found in modern HMI/SCADA programs like those offered by pioneers in the AR space such as Aircada, who provide AR for plant data and industrial maintenance. This allows users to create a connection with any supported device without the necessity of a physical link. This allows users to monitor data and configurations remotely without additional infrastructure.

GPS (Global Positioning System). GPS utilizes latitude/longitude information to display data related to that location and the equipment. Mobile users can access preconfigured information for their physical location.

OCR (Optical character recognition) that’s computers and mobile devices figure out the necessary info derived from characters that are alphanumeric.

Barcodes. This type of scanning is used to prevent operator confusion.

QR Codes are quick response codes. These are used to access historical and relevant information on the device by looking at predefined parameters.

AR application benefits

A typical scenario in Industrie 4.0 can involve training and simulation, maintenance or remote assistance. An HMI software-equipped technician, for example, can examine the ceiling to get information about the heating ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), how it is laid out and details such as pressure and flow. It’s possible to see installations and other aggregates behind false ceilings, linings, and the current status messages. This helps to quickly identify and fix errors.

An example of this is looking at a ventilation system. Suppose that system is not working properly. This may be directly related to the power supply that is supposed to activate the system. This problem can be quickly identified in the AR Environment. The operator then has the ability to call up appropriate signal states and circuit diagrams. It is possible to open documentation, such as manuals related to resolving or maintaining this problem, which can help deal with this issue in context with what is happening.

AR scenarios allow workers to quickly locate solutions in complex, multiasset environments like factories, buildings, or other locations. Service representatives equipped with solutions like an integrated HMI are able to contact workers immediately via the connected device. They can provide or get instructions for repairs, and even interactive holograms.

Beyond AR

Using AR software, along with AR hardware, known limits are being pushed in a significant manner by users and developers that are trying to resolve these issues. The technology used for manufacturing and control has evolved over the years, from the archaic software programming of DOS to two-dimensional GUIs, 64bit computing, and even using PLC. It is likely that new AR ideas will emerge as a result of these advancements in a field of study that is literally brand-new.

Francis Nwokike

Francis Nwokike is a Social Entrepreneur and an experienced Disaster Manager. I love discussing new business trends and marketing tips. I share ideas and tips that will help you grow your business.

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