CompuTec Holo: Augmented Reality for Advanced Manufacturers

If you follow us on our social media or if you have met us at a conference in the past year or so, you have probably already heard a bit about HoloLab and CompuTec Holo. But we still get a lot of questions about what it is, so today, I’d like to give you a brief summary of some of the highlights.

HoloLab is a CompuTec subsidiary. It was set up as the basis for a research project which is exploring the potential for the use of augmented reality technology in advanced manufacturing environments. CompuTec Holo is the fruit of HoloLab’s labor. It is, as of the time of writing, still undergoing development and not yet available on the market but watch this space. The reality is, that this kind of technology is much closer than you think.

CompuTec Holo will allow you to run your entire production facility in real-time using holographic lenses. That means the system runs off of your SAP Business One and CompuTec ProcessForce data and you can manage production via our very simple to use Augmented Reality interface. The solution is controlled by voice and simple hand gestures and you can quite literally use it anywhere. So the obvious choices are from the shop floor or warehouse (in which cases you can also take advantage of object recognition technology) or indeed your office, but you would also be able to use it anywhere else with a network connection.

It is a big solution so today, I will just take you through some of the highlights and a few examples for practical implementation. As the product is still in development, the final version will be somewhat evolved from the features that I will outline today but this should give you an idea of what to expect.

Inventory and product data management

CompuTec Holo will allow you to display data about your inventory from SAP Business One and CompuTec ProcessForce in Augmented Reality. The system can use „markers“ e.g. barcodes, package dimensions, RFID tags or beacons to identify the contents of Storage Units and give you comprehensive information about properties, characteristics, handling instructions, item history and more, all layered on top of the real item, resource, etc. that you are looking at. So, you can look at a real, physical cardboard box and CompuTec Holo will display information about its contents on the interface.

Of course, this is a million times more convenient than going to a computer to look up data, but it is useful in some unexpected ways too. For example, let’s imagine that your products can be stacked safely on pallets up to a certain height. If you look at the stack using your holographic lens, the system will detect any stacks which are piled too high and alert you. It completely removes the need for measuring such things manually.

Live production process information

CompuTec Holo will display live information about all production activities. You’ll be able to manage your manufacturing orders and resources and see what is being produced and at what rate at any given moment and you’ll even be able to see costing break downs so you’ll always be on top of what production is costing you.

Here is a taster of what you can expect the interface to look like. Please note that because the images in this blog post have been converted from the augmented reality interface, there has been a significant loss of quality and the “real thing” is far more impressive in appearance.

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Asset management including maintenance

It is also possible to monitor and manage resources using CompuTec Holo. One instance in which this can be extremely useful is that if your machinery is connected to the solution, CompuTec Holo will detect anomalies or machinery that isn’t performing as it should and can then send alerts or recommendations to users. This will help you fine-tune your predictive maintenance program and reduce downtime in your factory.

In this area, I can also provide you with a few prototype screenshots. Our innovative user interface for accessing and layering information (information cage) is currently patent pending.

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Optimized production planning and scheduling

You’ll also be able to plan the production schedule, reorganize it, be informed about issues or conflicts using CompuTec Holo’s augmented reality interface. This is extremely user-friendly as it is simply a case of picking up task tiles and moving them into position. Think of it as a super-enhanced version of CompuTec ProcessForce’s Gantt chart.

Automated quality management with faster, more tightly controlled testing practices

Not only can you prompt testing, enter test results into the system and check results of QC tests but you can also receive alerts about potential QC issues including those identified by CompuTec Holo’s object recognition technology. Damaged containers, incorrect dimensions, warped or uneven surfaces and more will all be picked up on by CompuTec Holo and you’ll be notified of the issue instantly, along with information about what action should be taken to remedy the situation.

Improved quality and reliability in logistics processes including navigation

In a similar way to which object recognition works for quality control, CompuTec Holo also supports your logistics processes. The holographic lenses will be able to assess how much of an item is being received/put away or packed. The system can count how many items are being received, or moved, or packed and can detect what is inside any marked storage unit and can display handling as well as health and safety information to the user (superimposed on your real environment). There is also a navigation functionality that will locate any given item in the warehouse and tell you the most efficient way to get to it. If you have to pick a number of items during one tour of the warehouse, CompuTec Holo will tell you the most efficient route to take to collect all of them without doubling back on yourself and wasting time driving the forklift around in circles.

Constant review and improvement of processes using Artificial Intelligence algorithms

Using Artificial Intelligence CompuTec Holo continuously reviews and analyses your business’s history and processes and looks for ways in which you can improve how you run your business. The system will identify inefficiencies and common mistakes and alert you to them, as well as in many circumstances providing you with recommendations as to how to improve things.

And that’s not all. There is plenty more to come from CompuTec Holo so keep an eye on our blog and social media for updates and of course, beta (for CompuTec Partners for testing) and official release dates. The era of the intelligent enterprise is here, and the opportunities presented to businesses through IoT technologies are boundless. We are very, very proud to be bringing CompuTec Holo for advanced manufacturing environments into the mix.

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