March 20, 2023

How augmented reality impacts quality control

A digital solution that uses augmented reality with the 3D model at the center is particularly reliable. It uses the digital model (or twin) of the inspected equipment by overlaying its theoretical 3D model (as designed) with the reality (as built) to verify its conformity.
Avatar Wendy (Klotz) Mlynarek

One of the main challenges of the digital transformation of factories is to digitize the quality control and inspection operations efficiently and to reduce the number of non-conformities or to detect them early in the process. 

To achieve this, augmented reality (AR) is one of the best digital answers. However, what makes an augmented reality solution better than another digital solution or more traditional alternatives?

Guide your operators with an augmented reality-based inspection

The objective is to improve the reliability of quality management processes simply by digitizing work instruction sheets. Solutions using augmented reality aid the quality control and inspection process by providing guided step-by-step instructions throughout the quality control process. By displaying 3D instructions directly on the equipment, operators can visualize each element that must be present and its correct positioning. This ensures the completeness of your controls, repeatability of the process, and, above all, not miss a non-conformity.

Compare “as built” to “as designed”

A digital solution that uses augmented reality with the 3D model at the center is particularly reliable. It uses the digital model (or twin) of the inspected equipment by overlaying its theoretical 3D model (as designed) with the reality (as built) to verify its conformity.

Thanks to this superposition, the as-designed is compared directly to the as-built. Suppose the real product is not in conformity with its digital twin. In that case, the defects are identified directly on the element, and the technicians in charge of quality control and inspection are notified.

 This way, you can identify non-conformances throughout the processes and reduce the number of errors generated in your factory.

Better work ergonomics for your operators 

Another powerful advantage of a digital augmented reality solution is the ergonomics and work comfort you can provide to the quality control agent.

Using such a solution means offering your teams a more intuitive and user-friendly tool, with even the possibility of working hands-free when combined with specific hardware devices adapted to their work environment.

Many tools, such as a tablet, remote camera, or Hololens can be used depending on the context and use case. It is necessary to consider your technicians’ environment and the required tasks to determine the most relevant equipment.

The restitution of non-visible information

What if the inspection process requires the control of elements and information invisible to the human eye? A solution using augmented reality works more or less the same way.

Let’s consider the case of non-destructive testing (NDT) by penetrant testing. Defects found during this inspection are not visible as they are only visible under UV light.

During the inspection, the product is immersed in a fluorescent liquid, which highlights non-conformities only under UV light, but when viewing the product under normal light, they become imperceptible. With an augmented reality solution, the defect data collected during the UV light inspection can be restituted directly on the inspected part and compared to its 3D model to identify differences and highlight defects.

In this context, AR will reproject and display information that would be invisible in another context and better support the operators dedicated to this operation, for example, for efficient repair tasks.

A quality control solution to save time

Adopting a digital solution with augmented reality reduces your cycle times and saves time and energy. Indeed, with step-by-step guidance, your operators are more efficient in the inspection process, reducing your inspection time. Moreover, in some cases, your technicians can also be guided by automated inspection algorithms, increasing efficiency and time savings.

Then, with such technologies, defects (and their locations) are automatically referenced and mapped in the digital mock-up. Real-time data is captured throughout the process (whether via photo captures or location of non-conformities). Your teams no longer need to take time to do it and go back and forth between the shop floor and the office or compile it all in an inspection report; everything is done automatically!

Check the traceability of the control operations

Your inspection data is captured directly in the field and linked to the digital model, including images, annotations, inspection status, and defect and non-conformance information, to provide an objective and complete view of the product.

The data collected in the field is then compiled into a report and shared with the right people at the right time. This report is then available via a database or API for further analysis.

⇒ With DELMIA Augmented Experience solutions, you can collect field data and automatically generate an inspection report to promote better digital continuity.

Quality control in industry: Reduce your non-conformities

As we mentioned above, sometimes errors are detected late during the production process, and these defects have a generally high cost because of:

  • Actions to correct/repair the identified defects
  • Production stoppage
  • Back in production
  • Additional quality control
  • Logistics in case of end customer return

In addition, quality issues can negatively impact the manufacturer’s image when they lead to customer dissatisfaction. This is why detecting errors and non-conformities is a major challenge for the teams in charge of quality.

Augmented reality supports quality control and inspection in operations. The required control instruction for the operation is displayed at the right time and location, which helps to make the “first time right” a reality for your industry!

The information is materialized and made tangible in the field utilizing AR and hardware devices, allowing the technicians not to forget any control point.

Now that you’ve realized all the gains you can make with AR solutions, how about taking it a step further? Discover real-life cases of AR in the industry with our dedicated white paper The Top 10 Use Cases for Augmented Reality.

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