RealWear Inc AR Smart Glasses Worn in GlobalFoundries

Seeking an edge in productivity over its rivals, GlobalFoundries recently started equipping a handful of its workers with augmented-reality (AR) glasses.  These smartglasses are produced by AREA member RealWear Inc.  The company hopes that its effort, already in progress a year, will set a standard that others will follow.

“To increase profit margins, we need to ship more wafers at lower cost, so we are looked at every part of our process and developed an integrated AI and AR/VR strategy,” said D.P. Prakash, who leads implementation of the augmented/virtual reality project that he claims is a year ahead of his competition.

In early May, GlobalFoundries gave 10 workers AR glasses from Realwear to provide 2D displays of documentation inside the fab. The foundry has identified 30 use cases for the application developed by PTC using its Vuforia platform acquired from Qualcomm in 2015.

“Jobs that used to take two weeks or even two months could now take a couple of days,” said Prakash.

GlobalFoundries  identified four applications for AR, with training the next one slated for deployment, followed by operations. In a proof-of-concept pilot, the foundry determined that AR could slash training time by 30% to 50%.

“Ten headsets is a great start, and we will scale that it will be more than 50 for [accessing] documentation — ordering 200 headsets out of the gate is not a smart solution,” said Arpad Hevizi, chief information officer at GlobalFoundries.

“Once we have the training app, the project will scale to more than 100 headsets because our front-end technicians are under very high demand. The training process is measured in weeks, and they need to be in the clean room, so there is significant turnover that we can reduce.”

Use of headsets for system operators is still in a proof-of-concept stage. If all goes well, GlobalFoundries will deploy hundreds of headsets for them.

RealWear Inc, PTC and Qualcomm mentioned in the article are all AREA members.


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