Altough Augmented Reality sounds like a term from the future, it is not a new term. More and more companies make use of this revolutionary, digital technology. Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that connects reality with the virtual world. It is a mix of the reality with a virtual addition or enrichment. In practice it means that digital content is added to your range of vision.
One of the most well known tools to 'visualize' AR is a pair of AR glasses. This tool can show all kinds of information on the glass, like movies or images. Besides that, the user can control the glasses with voice commands or use it to make videos or pictures.
AR in the packaging world
At this moment AR is frequently used by various companies for sorting, e.g. by mail companies. But we also see it appearing in the packaging world, mainly for order picking. This technique is only in its infancy at the moment, but is continously evolving.
Unfortunately it remains to recognizing images at the moment. The next step is object recognition in combination with a higher processor speed. That is where the future of AR and the AR glasses lies.
When AR glasses are combined with packaging, you are able to recognize a pallet. You can literally project where a product should be placed on the pallet when you walk around the pallet. When a higher processer speed is added, the glasses can even make calculations and recognize objects due to the extra computing power.
Will packaging remain neglected with Augmented Reality?
This question was asked to Martijn van ’t Hof, Product Manager Software at FPC. “We don't think so. Despite AR has only been on the market for a few years, the benefits in the packaging area became clear pretty quickly.":
- You have your hands free: you no longer work with printed orders. In combination with a ringscanner you scan the product and you see what needs to be done.
- You work a lot faster: the glasses tell you in which aisle you have to be, which shelf and which product. You don't have to search yourself.
- Right product: you know for sure that you picked the right product that is requested in an order.
AR, a good investment
AR appears to be expensive. But this investment can easily be justified when you compare it to the costs you save. Think about the costs regarding the training of new employees. The training solely consists of the use of the glasses. Next to that the error margin with the AR glasses is much smaller because the glasses exactly tell you what to do. Employees don't pick the wrong products any more.
Augmented Reality with FPC products
There are different companies that offer solutions with Augmented Reality. But in combination with StackAssist or the stacking of products FPC is unique. Martijn van ’t Hof, Product Manager Software at FPC, also sees opportunities for PackAssist with AR: "You don't need to be in front of a fixed packing table any more but you can be in front of a shelf with packaging material. The glasses tell you what you need, and in which way you need to use it."
Do you want to know more about the application of Augmented Reality in your packaging process, Bart van Dijck can tell you all about it:
Bart van Dijck
Project Manager FPC