Industry 4.0 Foundations: Augmented & Virtual Reality


AR-repair2-(1).jpgOver the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the different types of Industry 4.0 technologies available and the benefits they each provide. In addition to Big Data, Internet of Things, System Integration, Cloud Computing and Robotics & Automation, manufacturers also can achieve significant improvements through the adoption of Augmented & Virtual Reality.

During employee training, businesses are commonly challenged by the demand placed on resources. Often, this leads to shortcuts in training, which negatively impacts productivity, quality and safety. Due to inconsistent training, variation arises in how each worker performs a task, which can lead to unanticipated results and no clear understanding of the root cause. To solve these training-related issues, and those unforeseen, Augmented & Virtual Reality can help.

Augmented Reality (AR) technology superimposes computer-generated images onto a user's view of the world, thus incorporating extra information into the real environment. Virtual Reality (VR) technology provides complete immersion through three-dimensional simulated environments that users can interact with in a seemingly real way using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.

Is your business: Experiencing issues with performance and/or quality resulting from poor staff training due to time and resource constraints? Struggling to keep up with old equipment repairs and set up? Reliant on the undocumented knowledge of long-tenured workers who may be nearing retirement?

AR & VR can help by:

  • Providing comprehensive, immersive training applications. With AR and VR technologies, employees can be trained to a standard “best practice,” which will repeat itself flawlessly and not change over time and translation. Resource utilization can be minimized and results tracked automatically to ensure that associates are properly trained to a standard of performance, quality and safety. This helps to ease the transfer of knowledge between employees. It also provides opportunities to practice different scenarios that might arise in production to ensure team members know how to handle a variety of challenges.
  • Guiding workers through repair and operating processes. Manufacturers who invest excessive time into repairing equipment can find help with AR and VR. These innovations provide companies with the ability to regularly service equipment, without the need for a training manual or parts catalog. With all information overlaid onto the machine through a simulation, workers can more easily and efficiently complete step-by-step instructions to repair, start up or shut down equipment.

For manufacturers looking to increase efficiency in training and equipment maintenance, AR or VR could be the solution. Learn more about how these technologies can solve some of your biggest problems by contacting and stay tuned for next week’s blog where we’ll explore Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing.

Whether your company is well into its Industry 4.0 journey or just getting started, The Center’s experts can help ensure you achieve the maximum return on all investments. To assist Michigan’s manufacturers with understanding and adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, The Center has partnered with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Automation Alley to drive awareness of the many uses and benefits of these innovations. From conducting an initial Technology Opportunity Assessment to identifying and applying relevant technologies, The Center guides manufacturers through technological implementations in a way that makes sense for their businesses.

Learn more about how The Center can support your company’s Industry 4.0 journey by contacting or visit




Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at


Categories: Advanced Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, Innovation, Technology