Augmented Reality – digitisation in the energy sector
Or: Indutsry 4.0 takes it on!
The “energy transition” has ambitious goals aimed at minimising the environmental, social and health challenges caused by the energy industry. The ongoing digitalisation of the individual areas and processes can make a significant contribution to this project. One thing is clear: if the energy turnaround is to be managed successfully, it must be able to hold its own in economical terms. New digital technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have reached a maturity level in recent months, which gives rise to a great deal of optimism that they will support the required economic efficiency in practice. Projects of the Austrian company ViewAR are already showing the future. But how can AR and VR be used meaningfully in the sense of energy transition?
Like every project, digitisation must be adapted by the people who are involved in these new processes. And this is exactly what AR and VR are playing into their hands, because this new technology can primarily support one thing, namely the imagination of the people in their planned projects.
“Energy transition must be economically successful to drive change.”
Energy transition projects become “tangible”.
It starts very small, with planned energy-saving furnaces for private households and ends with the planning and realization of huge power plants in the industrial sector. But both have one thing in common: they are planned, created, operated and finally maintained by human beings. State-of-the-art visualization techniques such as AR and VR allow barrier-free access to all these levels of interaction. Pure static CAD has passed its zenith, today flexible, collaborative and, above all, visualizing working tools that are as close to reality as possible are called for.
Already during design phase Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality deliver a new dimension of possibilities, but in the sector of industrial production a real noticeable difference to the pre-digitized era can be seen. Virtually designed machines can be viewed in all their individual parts and the processes derived from them can be made visible. ViewAR prepares the way for future applications with showcases. On request, Augmented Reality can also make machines appear at their future place of use, which brings spatial planning and aesthetics into play. All these advantages of the technology lead to accelerated processes, faster decisions and faster implementation of envisaged energy turnaround projects. Yet another factor stands out from the rest.
Energy transition is an ambitious project
It works only when economically successful
Bridging the imagination gap
Collaboration fostered by AR and VR
Digitisation makes experience multiplicable!
If everyone knew what everyone else knew, we would be much faster and more efficient. Digitisation makes possible what has been very laborious up to now, namely to convey and pass on knowledge and experience in 3-dimensional form. Training courses in the energy industry will no longer be taught using Powerpoint slides or videos, but conducted as a holistic experience using data glasses or AR/VR devices. Every experience, for example, that a maintenance employee of a wind turbine faces daily while handling his machine can be passed on to his colleagues or newly hired employees digitally and as a 3D experience. The technology also allows collaborative work and supports teamwork on an unprecedented level. Downtimes can be reduced in this way, a not inconsiderable part of the economic consideration, the visualization of non-visible parts (e. g. cables in the ground or behind walls, can help to avoid accidents.
The understanding of machines and the partly complex processes and data behind them is greatly facilitated by VR/AR, which, for example, allows producers of pellet plants in a current ViewAR project to gain new opportunities for consulting in sales.
There’s nothing good unless you do it
The energy industry, certainly one of the more conventional sectors of the economy, now has new opportunities to rethink processes and accelerate the success of the energy revolution. Now it is time to show courage and take the new path.