Though we spend ample time examining consumer-based AR endpoints, greater near-term impact is seen in the enterprise. This takes many forms including brands that use AR to promote products in greater dimensions and industrial enterprises that streamline operations.

These industrial endpoints include visual support in areas like assembly and maintenance. The idea is that AR’s line-of-sight orientation can guide front-line workers. Compared to the “mental mapping” they must do with 2D instructions, visual support makes them more effective.

This effectiveness results from AR-guided speed, accuracy, and safety. These micro efficiencies add up to worthwhile bottom-line impact when deployed at scale. Macro benefits include lessening job strain and closing the “skills gap,” which can preserve institutional knowledge.

But how is this materializing today and who’s realizing enterprise AR benefits? Our research arm ARtillery Intelligence tackled these questions in its report: Enterprise AR: Best Practices & Case Studies, Vol 2. We’ve excerpted it below, featuring Global Foundries’ AR deployment.

Enterprise AR: Best Practices & Case Studies, Volume II

Skills Gap

After covering AR’s role in industries like healthcare and aerospace, we now turn attention to another sector: semiconductors. Like those other industries, the chip sector is primed for AR because fabrication involves intricate industrial processes. This is where AR shines.

Taking this principle to heart, semiconductor foundry Global Foundries applied AR guidance from PTC to elevate training processes. Specifically, PTCs Vuforia Expert Capture and Vuforia Studio authoring environment enable simulated scenarios through visually-intuitive 3D models.

Experienced through HoloLens 2, these sequences boost memory recall through visual orientation. The goal is to onboard new technicians, upskill existing ones, and capture knowledge from retiring ones. All these actions bridge the “skills gap” which is one of AR’s macro-benefits.

“Joe, who’s worked here for forty-some years is going to retire and he’s going to take that forty-some years of domain expertise out the door with him,” said PTC’s Jim Heppelmann at AWE. “We’re gonna hire somebody new to do what Joe did, but it’ll take them years to be as good.”

XR Talks: Can AR Curb Institutional Knowledge Loss?

Tangible Outcome

Joining those macro benefits are micro benefits. There, Global Foundries utilized PTC software for visual guidance. It constructed digital twins of its manufacturing components, which could then be incorporated into pre-authored support sequences to guide onsite technicians.

In total – adding up Global Foundries’ macro and micro goals – the company deployed AR to both improve training and lessen reliance on it. The latter happens when on-site technicians are upskilled in real-time through instructions delivered where relevant, thus boosting productivity.

And the result? Global Foundries reduced training time by 50 percent. This is a tangible outcome in that the lessened cost – especially at the scale of its training operations – had real bottom-line impact.  Seeing this firsthand, the company is intent on expanding AR’s role across its operations.

“With a vision to change the semiconductor industry […] We are transforming every part of our workflow using innovative technologies, including AR,” said Global Foundries’ head of innovation Dr. DP Prakash.

We’ll pause there and circle back in the next report excerpt with another enterprise AR case study. Meanwhile, see the full report here

Header image credit: Vishnu Mohanan on Unsplash 

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