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How can AR glasses be useful to distribution centres?

Posted: 29 Apr 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:distribution centre? Google Glass? augmented reality? AR?

Since the instructions are immediately available in augmented reality, employees are no longer dependent on tribal knowledge that gets lost when a key employee leaves. Training is simpler and onboarding new hires or temp workers would take very little time. Instead of spending time training a new hire, the supervisor would outfit the new worker with AR glasses and have him or her follow instructions that are displayed.

I can see any number of scenarios where augmented reality glasses could be useful:

1. Cubing/packing of boxesA logic called 3D cubing in Warehouse Management Systems looks at the X, Y and Z dimensions of products and computes what items go into what cartons. It determines the size of the optimal carton needed for each order. It sounds simple. Unfortunately, sometimes the operators are unable to fit the products in the carton in the exact way the 3D cubing algorithm computed. By displaying the proper sequence, AR glasses would solve this glitch.

2. Assembly of work ordersDistribution centres often perform value added services, such as building promotional display vehicles or even assembling printers. The only set of instructions given to the workers today is a drawing in a sheet called planogram. The worker looks at the planogram, understands what needs to be built, and then takes their time figuring it out. Then they build the product. Displaying those instructions in an augmented reality fashion through wearable glasses would streamline assembly.

3. Shop floor MES systemsShop floor manufacturing execution systems (MES), where workers are given instructions on the sequence of steps they need to execute to assemble a CPU of a PC, laptop or server on an assembly line. Today, static HTML pages show the places where the screws and components need to be placed, along with arrow marks showing the procedure that needs to be followed. It gets confusing and it takes some time. Think about how much more intuitive assembly instructions would be using augmented reality.

It seems that augmented reality still catches my imagination. How about you? Do you think augmented reality will be a game changer or simply offer incremental improvements? Will this type of tech appeal to millennial workers? Can we capitalise on the potential for gamification of repetitive tasks? We'd love to hear your thoughts on these ideas in the comments section below.

- Puga Sankara
??Smart Gladiator

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