Series ‘How to Establish AR in Product Development’ | Part 2

In this six-part series (read part one here), we answer the most pressing questions about establishing AR in product development and scaling it from pilot to multiple use cases. You will get practical tips to get you started.

How Do You Find Individual AR Use Cases for Product Development?

Getting started with immersive Augmented Reality is easy. Any company with 3D data in its repertoire can integrate digital AR processes into its own existing product development strategy and optimize them within a few days.

Get an overview of all the steps in the product development process and check where a digital step with AR can speed up the process or replace a physical step (for example, using a digital model instead of 3D printing a physical prototype or using a remote collaboration solution instead of traveling to a physical site).

Basically, there are two major roles for immersive Augmented Reality in product development that support each other.

Role 1: Replacing physical prototypes with virtual 3D models

This process optimization strategy has a direct impact on workflows and costs. Digital prototyping in AR is significantly faster than 3D printing or classic clay modeling. 

A digital design can be updated and reevaluated faster and more frequently after testing. New ideas can be immediately incorporated into the prototype. After the prototyping phase, assembly training can also be created more quickly using the 3D model.

Car manufacturers such as BMW have been using digital prototyping in AR for several years to develop new vehicles. They are shaving months off traditional work processes while reducing costs.

Role 2: Cross-site collaborative work on 3D holograms

With immersive AR, companies can prototype faster. This leads to the second key benefit of immersive AR: distributed teams can review and improve digital prototypes more quickly.

In virtual AR meetings, multiple people can simultaneously review and modify the same 3D model from anywhere in the world.

Digital 3D collaboration radically reduces coordination and travel time, accelerating product development. Companies can also extend this principle of collaborative engineering and inspection to downstream processes, such as quality assurance.

In summary, AR creates value in product development throughout the value chain by reducing production costs, prototype defects, and iterations through better cross-site collaboration. The result is faster time-to-market for new products.

Three questions to the AR use case:

  • In which processes does your company have high material and machine costs in product development?
  • Where do complications arise in the tuning of prototypes, for example, due to multiple, fine detail changes to the design?
  • Where do employees have to travel long distances for processes on physical components or equipment?

Action Points: 

  • Use AR to optimize everyday, existing processes instead of inventing new ones or creating lighthouse projects. AR works for small and large tasks and is up and running in no time.
  • Start small and then scale. With the first AR process optimizations, your employees will come up with ideas for other processes as they better understand the capabilities of the technology.