Inspect AR: How Augmented Reality makes inspections fast & efficient
Today, augmented reality is already simplifying work tremendously. Inspect AR ensures highly efficient inspection processes, for example. How does that work?
Plant and vehicle inspections are still performed with clipboards and multipage paper lists. Every time, the analysts hope that the inspector’s handwriting will be halfway legible and that no checkpoint will be missed. Then the record goes into the archive and stays there.
Today, many companies are using digital solutions, on tablets for example. This reduces the risk of illegible inspection comments. In addition, the inspection results can be called up more quickly. However, you still need well-trained specialists who know exactly where to inspect and ideally don’t overlook any checkpoints.
The augmented reality app Inspect AR, winner of the Best of Swiss Apps Award (Silver), greatly simplifies the inspection process compared to standard methods – thus significantly increasing efficiency. What is the advantage over standard inspection processes? Is augmented reality expensive? Do employees require extra training? For whom is Inspect AR suitable? And what is needed to use it?
Inspect AR: Why augmented reality for inspection processes?
What is Augmented Reality? Put simply, the view of reality is enriched with information and valuable digital tips through a display. One example is the AR function of Google Maps, which indicates your route by a digital arrow projected onto the real environment via the smartphone display.
AR navigation for personal use with Google Maps. IMAGE: Google
Augmentation of real environments with digitally visualized information is not only attractive for personal use. Companies spend a lot of time in lengthy training processes where specialists explain local conditions or complicated machinery. Visual support technology helps trainees, new employees and substitutes to learn the ropes faster.
Extensive inspections of plants, vehicles and even buildings are also time-consuming. Finding, inspecting and documenting checkpoints is a lengthy process. With augmented reality, the entire inspection process can be laid out more efficiently. The user is guided directly to the individual checkpoints and then documents the status directly on the object. Potential problems are classified, documented with a photo if necessary, and commented.
With an AR-guided inspection, employees can focus on the work – even hands-free when using smartglasses – and save time and energy for more important tasks.
Simplify inspection and test processes with Inspect AR
Regular inspections must be made in order to ensure the quality of products and the safety of vehicles or buildings. Inspect AR significantly simplifies the necessary effort. This leads to a considerable increase in efficiency and flexibility for the company.
For inspections and tests, digital checklists are first created in an app. The employee tasked with an inspection is then guided to the next checkpoint in AR mode via arrows and distance indicators. AR navigation is helpful, among other things, for training or when a new machine or vehicle with which the inspector is not familiar must be inspected. In times of acute skilled labor shortages, even less qualified employees can be entrusted with an inspection.
All process steps are performed in the app, which significantly reduces the error rate. Every checkpoint must be checked off, which virtually eliminates the risk of forgetting a checkpoint. In addition, dynamic checkpoints allow for different flows, so the processes do not alway have to be the same. As a result, employees are forced to stay alert.
Traceability is also improved thanks to digitally stored inspection records. Comments, photos, complete PDF reports and data are collected directly in the web backend.
Record, inspect, analyze: How Inspect AR works
The stated steps relate solely to the inspection process. The entire inspection process is performed in Inspect AR, from guideline to data analysis, as follows:
Using the integrated app recorder, around 20 checkpoints can be recorded and processed in fifteen minutes. Images and text descriptions can be quickly added, and locations and distances are calculated automatically. The resulting checklists can also be laid out dynamically, allowing for different inspection processes.
An employee starts the inspection process in the app and is guided step by step through the inspection. Thus, no checkpoint can be overlooked. In addition, the status must always be confirmed, either as “OK” or “Not OK”.
In the latter case, it is even possible to integrate a remote maintenance or remote access function for remote support by experts, so that some defects can be eliminated directly on the spot by the inspector or other local employees. In addition, the inspector can directly attach comments and photos if subsequent repair, maintenance or closer inspection is necessary.
All inspection results are stored in a digital record and can be exported via a web backend as Excel-readable files or report PDFs for seamless evaluation.
Inspections and tests with augmented reality: Operation and scalability
Is training required for Inspect AR? And what happens if an inspection process must be carried out by several employees?
The app and the web backend are both easy to use. The app displays all important steps in detail and is clearly organized. It provides AR navigation with arrows and markers as well as clearly named buttons. This simplifies the portability of inspection tasks between employees and enables flexible personnel planning.
Inspection checkpoints are presented visually with Inspect AR and cannot be overlooked.
The management tool in the web backend provides intuitive user administration, allowing specific tasks to be quickly assigned to employees. This administration includes the integration of user data via interfaces such as LDAP (a protocol for communication between a client and a directory service). Current processes can be monitored in the Inspect AR backend, and their performance is documented in real time. Naturally, access to individual areas can be limited to specific roles.
The web backend is located in secure cloud software. No additional infrastructure is necessary. However, users who prefer a local service solution can also integrate Inspect AR on-premise, i.e. in a local software and server infrastructure.
All advantages of Inspect AR at a glance
The above video already provides a good impression of how Inspect AR works. The following key points make the AR solution especially attractive:
- Time savings thanks to more efficient, visually guided work
- Clear guidance simplifies the training of new employees and lets substitutes take over seamlessly without loss of quality
- Greater competitive advantage thanks to faster assurance of accustomed quality
- Better analyses thanks to complete data at any time and seamless traceability
- Easy identification of areas where the inspection process can be improved and made more efficient
Application areas for Inspect AR
Over the next few years, augmented reality will become increasingly important and open up additional business areas. Inspect AR has recognized this trend early and offers genuine added value for individual areas of use.
Not only trains can be inspected efficiently and safely with Inspect AR. The AR system can also be used for other vehicles, plants and much more.
Inspect AR can be deployed flexibly today. Some areas of use include:
- Plant inspection
- Vehicle inspection
- Inspection of incoming and outgoing goods
- Final acceptance and quality control
- Safety inspections
- Control inspections
Your company isn’t using advanced smartglasses yet? No problem, because Inspect AR runs on any smartphone or tablet with the Android operating system.
Augmented reality glasses such as HoloLens, HoloLens 2 and Magic Leap are supported. Industrial smartglasses based on Android work especially well with the Inspect AR software. A specific version for RealWear HMT-1 is available for especially difficult environments, including ATEX zones (areas with a potentially explosive atmosphere, for example due to the presence of dust or gas).
Inspect AR: Performance overview and contact
The following overview covers the key features of Inspect AR.
- App for Android, RealWear and mixed reality devices
- Web-based management tool
- Connectors (REST API) for integration
- Simple user interface
- Organization and administration of checklist templates for a variety of objects
- Text templates for quick recording of checkpoints (with photo storage), classification of status and comment function
- Mobile app recorder: Fast, individually modifieable checkpoint recording
- Simple and open user administration with task assignment
- Custom design (app can be provided with you logor and colors)
- Export of reports (Excel-readable formats)
- Web backend can be on-premise or hosted in the Azure Cloud
- No infrastructure required
- License model
If you are interested, the Augment IT by Netcetera team would like to hear from you and set up an appointment for a personal demonstration of Inspect AR.
Source: This article was published on 18 November 2019 on mixed.de (in German only).