Made Smarters technology adoption programme is deploying smart glasses to SME aerospace manufacturers to virtually fast track their digital adoption strategies and navigate Covid-19 restrictions.
A machine operator at JTAPE testing out handsfree smart glasses.
Courtesy Made Smarter
The wearable device enables technology specialists from Made Smarter to perform virtual end to end production line walks of factories with a business as part of the digital transformation workshop (DTW) process.
These fully-funded, bespoke workshops are led by technology advisers who cut through the jargon to provide impartial advice to help a business identify the most effective technologies to overcome their operational challenges.
The virtual visit allows advisers to dial in to a conference call and watch each manufacturing operation being performed in order. This enables discussions around inputs, outputs, process control, and quality performance in order to provide a clear picture of each businesses’ bespoke operation.
The introduction of smart glasses has enabled Made Smarter to overcome access restrictions and limitations caused by the pandemic to get the vital insights needed to support the manufacturer’s digital transformation. It also gives manufacturers a valuable opportunity to test how this emerging technology could be used in their business.
Will Kinghorn, Industrial Digital Technology Advisor for Made Smarter, said: “In the wake of the pandemic we redesigned our digital transformation workshops to continue delivery when in-person visits were not possible.
“This approach has helped 141 manufacturers engage in a streamlined process designed to accelerate manufacturing growth by identifying digital tools and technologies that can maximise operational processes.
“In that same spirit of innovation, as we tread a cautious roadmap out of lockdown, and to minimise the spread of the virus, we have developed virtual line walks.
“When it comes to how things are made there is no substitute for seeing it for yourself, but the use of smart glasses is a fantastic alternative. They are specifically designed to keep both your hands free, letting the wearer demonstrate how things work, what products look like, or easily show relevant paperwork.
“We have designed these workshops to require minimal time investment for manufacturers to turn the actions into results, while still allowing participants to focus on the day-to-day operations of the business.”
Made Smarter has different types of smart glasses to suit different requirements including: the Epson Moverio; Realwear HMT-1; Vuzix Blade; and Magic Leap.
The glasses come with a 4G dongle to ensure connectivity if there are WiFi or network coverage challenges. They even work offline, which means manufacturers can record a video of the production line walk which can be reviewed later.
The glasses are connected through Remote Eye software which enables a live stream video and the opportunity to take high definition screenshots which can be tagged in a library for swift access.
Viewers can also use a cursor to direct the wearer to any areas of interest and annotate the picture in real time.
Digital transformation workshops identify other ways the Made Smarter programme can support a manufacturer including: fully-funded digital technology internships to help implement projects and bring a fresh perspective and new skills into the business; specialist advice about workforce development and skills; and funding for new digital tools and technologies such as data and systems integration, robotics and automation, or additive manufacturing.
Made Smarter is the UK national industrial digitalisation movement to drive productivity and growth of manufacturing industries and put the UK at the forefront of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Backed by world-renowned businesses and working in partnership with the UK government, Made Smarter will make a real, everyday difference to people from the boardroom to the factory floor.
The Made North West pilot connects makers to the digital tools that will make an everyday difference to their business. The £20 million partnership between government and industry will provide match-funding, specialist advice, student placements and leadership training. Helping up to 3,000 small and medium-sized businesses – and the people in them – keep their competitive edge. And adding up to £115 million to the region’s economy.