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Augmented reality smart glasses as assembly operator support: A framework for enabling industrial integration
University of Skövde, School of Engineering Science. University of Skövde, Virtual Engineering Research Environment. Volvo Car Corporation. (Produktion och automatiseringsteknik, Production and Automation Engineering)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9512-7554
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Manufacturing industry is seeing vast improvements in productivity and flexibility as the fourth industrial revolution continues to unfold. However, despite improved computation and automation capacity, there is still a role for operators to play in Industry 4.0, mirrored in the concept of Operator 4.0. Improved productivity and a more competitive global market have contributed to increasing manufacturing complexity, putting greater cognitive demands on operators. A technology that can support operators in this new manufacturing landscape is augmented reality (AR), specifically, headworn AR smart glasses (ARSG). With ARSG, operators can receive information interactively in real time, hands free and overlying their natural environment. ARSG are an emerging technology that is becoming more mature; there are early examples of their use in manufacturing industry, but ARSG are not yet widespread.

Because ARSG are an emerging technology, there is still uncertainty as to how ARSG can be integrated, like other production equipment, in assembly lines. When current literature was analyzed, it was found that there is a need for more knowledge particularly from the manufacturing engineering perspective of practically integrating ARSG on the industrial shop floor in the long term. This thesis therefore aims to create a framework that supports industry in making strategic and practical decisions about integrating ARSG in production as an assembly operator support tool. The framework is designed to guide industrial decision makers in evaluating the suitability of ARSG as support in an assembly station and, further to offer specific recommendations and rationales for actions to take. It has two main perspectives: the operators using the ARSG and the manufacturing engineers conducting the integration into the production systems. The framework was iteratively developed, using design science combining qualitative and quantitative methods into mixed methods. Three research questions were developed and answered as steps toward creating and evaluating the framework.

The results of the thesis show that ARSG integration should be considered in relation to the investment cost and efficiency gains. For instance, ARSG requires the digitalization of assembly instructions before it can be feasible. If operators are mostly stationary when working and have little need for spatial guidance, there might be cheaper alternatives to ARSG, such as monitors or pick-by-light, that merit prior consideration. The framework has been developed and tested iteratively with industrial experts from different fields, with the initial strawman design based on three literature reviews and previous research.

Abstract [sv]

Tillverkningsindustrin ser omfattande förbättringar i produktivitet och flexibilitet när den fjärde industriella revolutionen fortsätter att vecklas ut. Men trots förbättrad beräknings- och automationskapacitet så finns det fortfarande en roll för operatörer i Industri 4.0, vilket speglas i konceptet Operatör 4.0. Ökad produktivitet och mer konkurrens på en global marknad har bidragit till att öka tillverkningens komplexitet och de kognitiva krav som sätts på operatörer. En teknologi som kan stödja operatörer i det nya produktionslandskapet är förstärkt verklighet (engelska ”augmented reality, AR), specifikt den huvudburna varianten i formen av smarta AR glasögon (ARSG). Med ARSG kan operatörer ta emot information interaktivt, i realtid, överlagt på deras verkliga miljö och utan att behöva använda händerna. ARSG är en framväxande teknologi som blir alltmer mogen och det finns tidiga exempel på där de används inom tillverkningsindustrin; men ARSG är ännu inte vitt spridda.

I och med att ARSG är en framväxande teknologi så finns det fortfarande osäkerhet kring hur ARSG kan integreras likt annan produktionsutrustning i monteringslinjer. När den aktuella litteraturen analyserades så identifierades det ett behov av mer kunskap relaterat speciellt till beredningsperspektivet, att praktiskt integrera ARSG på industrigolvet i ett långt perspektiv. Målet med den här avhandlingen är därför att skapa ett ramverk som stödjer industrin i strategiska och praktiska beslut i integrering av ARSG i produktion som ett stödverktyg för monteringsoperatörer. Ramverket är designat för att vägleda industriella beslutsfattare i utvärderingen av lämpligheten av ARSG som stöd i en monteringsstation och att vidare ge specifika rekommendationer och motiveringar för handlingar att utföra. Det har två huvudperspektiv, operatörerna som använder ARSG och beredarna som utför integrationsarbetet in i produktionssystemen. Ramverket utvecklades iterativt genom användande av designvetenskap och kombinerandet av kvalitativa och kvantitative metoder till blandade metoder. Tre forskningsfrågor utvecklades och besvarades som steg mot att skapa och utvärdera ramverket.

Resultaten från avhandlingen visar att ARSG integrering ska övervägas i relation till kostnaden för investeringen och den ökade effektiviteten. Till exempel kräver ARSG digitaliserade instruktioner för att kunna användas. Om operatörer främst är stationära och har litet behov av spatial vägledning så kan det finnas billigare alternativ till ARSG, som bildskärmar eller ”pick-by-light,” som först ska övervägas. Ramverket har utvecklats och testats iterativt med industriella experter from olika områden och med en initial halmgubbedesign baserad i tre litteraturstudier och tidigare forskning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Skövde: University of Skövde , 2022. , p. xix, 101, [67]
Series
Dissertation Series ; 48
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Production and Automation Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-22635Libris ID: fw829h9jc53j2bpjISBN: 978-91-987906-2-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-22635DiVA, id: diva2:1761381
Public defence
2022-09-16, ASSAR Industrial Innovation Arena, Skövde, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-06-07 Created: 2023-06-01 Last updated: 2023-06-07Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Assessing Instructions in Augmented Reality for Human-Robot Collaborative Assembly by Using Demonstrators
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Assessing Instructions in Augmented Reality for Human-Robot Collaborative Assembly by Using Demonstrators
2017 (English)In: Procedia CIRP, ISSN 2212-8271, E-ISSN 2212-8271, Vol. 63, p. 89-94Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Robots are becoming more adaptive and aware of their surroundings. This has opened up the research area of tight human-robot collaboration,where humans and robots work directly interconnected rather than in separate cells. The manufacturing industry is in constant need ofdeveloping new products. This means that operators are in constant need of learning new ways of manufacturing. If instructions to operatorsand interaction between operators and robots can be virtualized this has the potential of being more modifiable and available to the operators.Augmented Reality has previously shown to be effective in giving operators instructions in assembly, but there are still knowledge gapsregarding evaluation and general design guidelines. This paper has two aims. Firstly it aims to assess if demonstrators can be used to simulatehuman-robot collaboration. Secondly it aims to assess if Augmented Reality-based interfaces can be used to guide test-persons through apreviously unknown assembly procedure. The long-term goal of the demonstrator is to function as a test-module for how to efficiently instructoperators collaborating with a robot. Pilot-tests have shown that Augmented Reality instructions can give enough information for untrainedworkers to perform simple assembly-tasks where parts of the steps are done with direct collaboration with a robot. Misunderstandings of theinstructions from the test-persons led to multiple errors during assembly so future research is needed in how to efficiently design instructions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Augmented Reality, Human Robot Collaboration, Assembly
National Category
Robotics
Research subject
Production and Automation Engineering; INF201 Virtual Production Development
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-14023 (URN)10.1016/j.procir.2017.02.038 (DOI)000418465500015 ()2-s2.0-85028641292 (Scopus ID)
Conference
The 50th CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems, Taichung City, Taiwan on May 3rd – 5th, 2017
Projects
SYMBIO-TIC
Note

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Edited by Mitchell M. Tseng, Hung-Yin Tsai, Yue Wang

Available from: 2017-08-22 Created: 2017-08-22 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved
2. Operators perspective on augmented reality as a support tool in engine assembly
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operators perspective on augmented reality as a support tool in engine assembly
2018 (English)In: Procedia CIRP, ISSN 2212-8271, E-ISSN 2212-8271, Vol. 72, p. 45-50Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Augmented Reality (AR) has shown its potential in supporting operators in manufacturing. AR-glasses as a platform both in industrial use are emerging markets, thereby making portable and hands-free AR more and more feasible. An important aspect of integrating AR as a support tool for operators is their acceptance of the technology. This paper presents the results of interviewing operators regarding their view on AR technology in their field and observing them working in automotive engine assembly and how they interact with current instructions. The observations and follow-up questions identified three main aspects of the information that the operators looked at: validating screw torque, their current assembly time, and if something went wrong. The interviews showed that a large amount of the operators were positive towards using AR in assembly. This has given an insight in both the current information interaction the operators do and their view on the potential in using AR. Based on these insights we suggest a mock-up design of an AR-interface for engine assembly to serve as a base for future prototype designs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
Keywords
augmented reality, engine assembly, operator, förstärkt verklighet, motormontering, operatör
National Category
Communication Systems
Research subject
Production and Automation Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-15937 (URN)10.1016/j.procir.2018.03.153 (DOI)000526120800008 ()2-s2.0-85049604095 (Scopus ID)
Conference
51st CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems, Stockholm, May 16-18, 2018
Note

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Edited by Lihui Wang

The authors would like to thank the operators and management at the assembly line in the Volvo Car factory in Skövde for their immense help in gathering this data.

Available from: 2018-07-06 Created: 2018-07-06 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved
3. Augmented Reality Smart Glasses for Industrial Assembly Operators: A Meta-Analysis and Categorization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Augmented Reality Smart Glasses for Industrial Assembly Operators: A Meta-Analysis and Categorization
2019 (English)In: Advances in Manufacturing Technology XXXIII: Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Manufacturing Research, incorporating the 34th National Conference on Manufacturing Research, 10–12 September 2019, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK / [ed] Yan Jin; Mark Price, Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2019, Vol. 9, p. 173-179Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Augmented reality smart glasses (ARSG) are an emerging technology that has the potential to revolutionize how operators interact with information in cyber-physical systems. However, augmented reality is currently not widespread in industrial assembly. The aim of this paper is to investigate and map ARSG in manufacturing from the perspectives of the operator, of manufacturing engineering, and of its technological maturity. This mapping provides an overview of topics relevant to enabling the implementation of ARSG in a manufacturing system, thus facilitating future exploration of the three perspectives. This investigation was done using a meta-analysis of literature reviews of applications of augmented reality in industrial manufacturing. The meta-analysis categorized previously identified topics within augmented reality in industrial manufacturing and mapped those to the scope of the three perspectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2019
Series
Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering, ISSN 2352-751X, E-ISSN 2352-7528 ; 9
Keywords
Augmented Reality, Literature Review, Assembly, Assembly Operators
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Production and Automation Engineering; VF-KDO
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-17850 (URN)10.3233/ATDE190031 (DOI)2-s2.0-85108891840 (Scopus ID)978-1-64368-008-8 (ISBN)978-1-64368-009-5 (ISBN)
Conference
17th International Conference on Manufacturing Research, incorporating the 34th National Conference on Manufacturing Research, 10–12 September 2019, Queen’s University, Belfast, UK
Available from: 2019-11-04 Created: 2019-11-04 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved
4. Augmented reality smart glasses for operators in production: Survey of relevant categories for supporting operators
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Augmented reality smart glasses for operators in production: Survey of relevant categories for supporting operators
2020 (English)In: Procedia CIRP, ISSN 2212-8271, E-ISSN 2212-8271, Vol. 93, p. 1298-1303Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the current knowledge and future challenges of augmented reality smart glasses (ARSG) for use by industrial operators. This is accomplished through a survey of the operator perspective of ARSG for industrial application, aiming for faster implementation of ARSG for operators in manufacturing. The survey considers the categories assembly instructions, human factors, design, support, and training from the operator perspective to provide insights for efficient use of ARSG in production. The main findings include a lack of standards in the design of assembly instructions, the field of view of ARSG are limited, and the guidelines for designing instructions focus on presenting context-relevant information and limiting the disturbance of reality. Furthermore, operator task routine is becoming more difficult to achieve and testing has mainly been with non-operator testers and overly simplified tasks. Future challenges identified from the review include: longitudinal user-tests of ARSG, a deeper evaluation of how to distribute the weight of ARSG, further improvement of the sensors and visual recognition to facilitate better interaction, and task complexity is likely to increase.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020
Keywords
augmented reality, assembly operator, literature survey, augmented reality smart glasses
National Category
Mechanical Engineering
Research subject
Production and Automation Engineering; VF-KDO
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-19088 (URN)10.1016/j.procir.2020.04.099 (DOI)2-s2.0-85092429154 (Scopus ID)
Conference
53rd CIRP Conference on Manufacturing Systems 2020
Note

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Edited by Robert X. Gao, Kornel Ehmann

Available from: 2020-09-23 Created: 2020-09-23 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved
5. Augmented reality smart glasses in industrial assembly: Current status and future challenges
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Augmented reality smart glasses in industrial assembly: Current status and future challenges
2020 (English)In: Journal of Industrial Information Integration, ISSN 2467-964X, E-ISSN 2452-414X, Vol. 20, article id 100175Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article aims to provide a better understanding of Augmented Reality Smart Glasses (ARSG) for assembly operators from two perspectives, namely, manufacturing engineering and technological maturity. A literature survey considers both these perspectives of ARSG. The article's contribution is an investigation of the current status as well as challenges for future development of ARSG regarding usage in the manufacturing industry in relation to the two perspectives. This survey thereby facilitate a better future integration of ARSG in manufacturing. Findings include that commercially available ARSG differ considerably in their hardware specifications. The Technological Readiness Level (TRL) of some of the components of ARSG is still low, with displays having a TRL of 7 and tracking a TRL of 5. A mapping of tracking technologies and their suitability for industrial ARSG was done and identified Bluetooth, micro-electro mechanical sensors (MEMS) and infrared sensors as potentially suitable technologies to improve tracking. Future work identified is to also explore the operator perspective of ARSG in manufacturing. © 2020

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2020
Keywords
Augmented reality, Industry 4.0, Literature survey, Smart glasses, Glass, Infrared detectors, Surveys, Hardware specifications, Industrial assemblies, Manufacturing engineering, Manufacturing industries, Micro electro mechanical sensors, Technological readiness levels, Tracking technology, Manufacture
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Interaction Technologies
Research subject
Production and Automation Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-19226 (URN)10.1016/j.jii.2020.100175 (DOI)000595313300004 ()2-s2.0-85093920571 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-11-05 Created: 2020-11-05 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved
6. Integration of Augmented Reality Smart Glasses as Assembly Support: A Framework Implementation in a Quick Evaluation Tool
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Integration of Augmented Reality Smart Glasses as Assembly Support: A Framework Implementation in a Quick Evaluation Tool
2023 (English)In: International Journal of Manufacturing Research, ISSN 1750-0591, Vol. 18, no 2, p. 144-164Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Augmented reality smart glasses (ARSG) have been successfully used as operator support in production. However, their use is not yet widespread, likely in part due to a lack of knowledge about how to integrate ARSG into production. This lack of knowledge can also make it hard to estimate whether this is a worthwhile investment. Our solution is to provide an online evaluation tool to help production planners estimate the likelihood that ARSG will be worth the investment cost in specific production cases. Based on a strawman design, multiple design iterations were followed by a pilot test performed by participants from different manufacturing companies involved in planning production for operators. A Likert scale survey was used to evaluate the tool. The results show a slightly positive evaluation of the tool with suggestions for improvement, including widening the scope and granularity of the tool. Future works include further iterations and case studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
InderScience Publishers, 2023
Keywords
augmented reality, AR, augmented reality smart glasses, ARSG, assembly operator, framework, evaluation tool, focus groups
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Human Computer Interaction
Research subject
Virtual Production Development (VPD); User Centred Product Design; VF-KDO
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-22639 (URN)10.1504/IJMR.2023.131583 (DOI)001016319500002 ()2-s2.0-85165228322 (Scopus ID)
Note

Published online: 20 Jun 2023

Available from: 2023-06-02 Created: 2023-06-02 Last updated: 2023-08-16Bibliographically approved
7. Evaluation Framework for Augmented Reality Smart Glasses as Assembly Operator Support: Case Study of Tool Implementation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluation Framework for Augmented Reality Smart Glasses as Assembly Operator Support: Case Study of Tool Implementation
2021 (English)In: IEEE Access, E-ISSN 2169-3536, Vol. 9, p. 104904-104914Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Augmented reality smart glasses (ARSG) have been identified as relevant support tools for the Operator 4.0 paradigm. Although ARSG are starting to be used in industry, their use is not yet widespread. A previously developed online tool based on a framework for evaluating ARSG as assembly operator support is iteratively improved in this paper with expanded functionality. The added functionality consists of practical recommendations for implementing ARSG in production. These recommendations were produced with the help of five focus groups of industrial representatives working in production. The recommendations were evaluated using case studies at three different companies. The recommendations were found to be detailed and a good support for the process of considering ARSG integration into production. The companies overall found the tool and its recommendations to be relevant and correct for their cases.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2021
Keywords
augmented reality, augmented reality smart glasses, focus groups, framework
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics Information Systems
Research subject
Production and Automation Engineering; VF-KDO
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:his:diva-20403 (URN)10.1109/ACCESS.2021.3096855 (DOI)000679521900001 ()2-s2.0-85111974292 (Scopus ID)
Note

CC BY 4.0

Corresponding author: Oscar Danielsson (oscar.danielsson@his.se)

Available from: 2021-08-12 Created: 2021-08-12 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved

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