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AR Enhances Logistical Planning Efficiency at Audi

AR Enhances Logistical Planning Efficiency at Audi
Augmented reality (AR) technology is utilised by Audi for sophisticated logistics process planning. 3D hologram virtual presentations are shown within their environments to aid planners for enhanced evaluation of future circumstances. Prototypes of equipment or containers, which require considerable production effort, are not necessary. The latest version of HoloLens 2, the Microsoft headset, is being used by Audi for creating the virtual prototypes that are adequate for planning purposes.

The ‘LayAR’ (layout and augmented reality) system provides support for Audi logistics planners for setting up logistical structures within currently existing production spaces. The software utilises currently available CAD data for objects including containers, parts, and shelves. The digital prototype version is displayed as a three-dimensional hologram with the augmented reality device. It is projected within the production environment in life-size.

High expectations

Peter Kössler, Board of Management member, Production and Logistics, said that digital technologies are used methodically in Audi Production. Augmented reality devices have turned into integral mainstays of logistics planners’ toolkits. This has helped them to improve efficiency and speed up their work considerably. Ingolstadt body shop professionals are presently harbouring plans for machine technology that can utilise their cutting-edge driverless transport system. This is expected to be in action before the earliest automated guided vehicles are delivered. LayAR is expected to be used for establishing electric vehicles production in the company’s main plant.

Tobias Brigl, a project manager, said that in-house container, line and shelf prototypes, and floor affixed lines were being used for creating structural and size visualisations. He emphasised that such a method requires considerable imagination for which augmented reality is the suitable tool. According to him, AR can effectively bridge the gap between the virtual and real worlds. Using the technology can help to identify issues at an initial stage to ensure fast development of solutions.

User-friendly

Identical images are displayed through the use of multiple augmented reality devices simultaneously via synchronisation. Upon reaching for an object, a user is able to move it around, turn it, and even replace the object through hand gestures alone. All users can view the modifications in real-time. Using a shared image offers the chance of facilitating discussion and promotes cooperation across national borders and physical sites. Specialists working across other plants or those joining in from home can easily be included within web conferences for decision-making tasks.

Better planning

The latest software was put to the test by the company’s Supply Chain Planning project team in partnership with Viscopic for several months. It is currently being utilised whilst planning production hall workshops, in-office layout discussions and presentations. LayAR makes it easy for planning teams to create virtual miniatures of the full production hall setup and shrinks it down so it can be displayed on a desk. Using a virtual tool enables pinpoint measurement of areas and distances right within the holographic image. All changes and the results of those changes can be exported to CAD data within a matter of seconds. It translates to employees being able to work continually, through to the next planning status.

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