Augmented reality trains employees for the automotive assembly line

Capgemini has developed HoloLens, an augmented reality (AR) based training environment, for a leading automotive manufacturer to save time for onsite trainers and motivate employees with the use of cutting-edge technology

Client: BMW Group

Region: Germany

Sector: Automotive

Client challenge: In order to bring employees up to speed faster on assembly line tasks, training needed to be faster and more interactive without requiring an increased commitment in time and effort by supervisors

Solution: Capgemini’s augmented reality (AR) -based training environment provided employees with access to individual, hands on dashboard assembly practice prior to being put into the assembly line, leading to improved effectiveness once on the shop floor and less time required by supervisor to oversee training

Benefits:

  • Reduced assembly time results in cost savings
  • Easy supervisor review lowers time requirement while maintaining employee access to feedback
  • Easily configured training components enable creation of new teaching programs
  • Greater employee satisfaction

Assembly line tasks are becoming increasingly complex due to the growing variety of vehicles and the tendency for shorter product lifecycles. Fast, efficient, and enjoyable training sessions have become essential for preparing assembly operators for their tasks in the production environment.

Capgemini has developed an augmented reality (AR) -based training environment, which enables employees to virtually train in the entire sequence of assembling a dashboard using a HoloLens (in use at BMW Group) or a tablet.

HoloLens works as a point of reference for the object to be assembled, such as a dashboard. The employees then virtually assemble the product and immediately receive feedback on their work in the training room. At the end of the exercise, they also receive an overall score that determines whether the employer is ready for the assembly line or needs to continue training.

This application is now in use at BMW Group, where AR is used to train each employee on how to assemble over 30 different parts in the dashboards of the BMW 1 and 3 Series. For the most part, employees can practice alone without extensive supervision from the onsite trainers. Using a tablet makes it possible to follow the application from the employee’s perspective and give additional instructions or help if necessary. It is also possible to view the results of the training session’s integrated “exam.”

The training scenarios are easy to configure. Capgemini offers an authoring tool that allows end users to configure training content in an online application. An automated tool chain can directly access engineering data (CAD) and prepare it for use in training. Because the instrument panel is recognisable without markings, any other object available with 3D data can also be used. The solution also detects cockpit rotations and employee movements. In order to optimise the learning effect and explain the complex assembly processes in detail, videos, images, and documents can be embedded within the training program while animations of the components are faded into the real environment. The training scenarios created in the authoring tool can either be directly uploaded offline onto the AR devices or accessed at any time in the backend.

Using AR, training at the BMW Group has become more effective and less time consuming. Because instruction no longer requires a supervisor, teachers can spend time on other tasks. This occurs without compromising instructors’ ability to provide explanations and feedback. With easily configured training components, the BMW Group will be able to set up future learning sessions for assembly, maintenance, and repair work without assistance. Finally, employees who are trained through AR have proven more effective and satisfied, reducing assembly time and leading to substantial cost savings.