Augmented Reality Research Project Aims To Improve Injection Molding Process

Earlier this week, Metrology posted an article on the AMPLI project simulation, supported by the EIT Manufacturing. The project will fuse the benefits of Augmented Reality and simulation to supply manufacturing workers with real-time information, creating an important development in factory digital transformation.

The five partners involved in the project are:

  • ESI Group (project coordinator)
  • Whirlpool
  • IPC (Innovation Plasturgie Composites)
  • LMS (Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation)

Technologies such as predictive models, in-line quality control, and in-mold sensors have already been introduced in the plastics industry to improve the process. However, AR provides new ways of interacting with manufacturing, product models, and machines. The article does acknowledge that current AR tools require more specification for each industry.

In providing real-time knowledge, the aim of the AMPLI project is to improve working procedures and decision-making via an AR tool for the polymer forming process. The tool will be based on the combination of numerical simulation integration and plastic domain-based knowledge.

The three main benefits targeted by the project mentioned in the article are:

  • Improve manufacturing efficiency: -10% time reduction for tuning a work cell, +8% increase in machine availability via preventive maintenance, -25% reduction of work force training period, -10% reduction of scrap
  • Capture and return process knowledge to eliminate skill shortages
  • Foster use of digital tools to increase shop floor work appeal: as work becomes more visual, accessibility is increased and training facilitated

The AMPLI project is based on improving AR usability and mechanisms via:

  • Customised plastic and composite processing interface – mixing measured information from the manufacturing work cell and models
  • Reduced order model leading to embedded process simulation results

The consortium partners will be testing, developing, and validating simulation and AR technology for the thermoforming process for a year. The role of each company will be as follows:

  • ESI will integrate the final output, a challenging step due to the need for real-time information in order for efficiency; ESI’s innovative technologies such as its model-order reduction platform, as well as its expertise, will make this stage possible.
  • IPC will provide knowledge rules concerning supervision and setting, using skills in process control and machine interoperability. They also simulate thermoforming process using PAM-FORM, ESI’s software.
  • LMS has developed an AR solution for the maintenance phase of infection molds due to their extensive experience in manufacturing AR applications.
  • ENSAM will blend manufacturing simulation with reality via AR feature development.
  • Whirlpool is a plastic converter, and will provide a thermoforming pilot case to test and validate the product industrially.
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