July 9, 2015

Experience Industry 4.0 visually:

productronica’s special show focuses on augmented and virtual reality

Electronics.Production.Augmented.—that is the motto of a special show that is part of productronica in November 2015. The world's leading trade fair for electronics development and production will focus on the hot topic of Industry 4.0 from a new perspective: visitors will experience the hidden processes machines and workpieces negotiate in production and how workers profit from Industry 4.0—with the help of augmented and virtual reality on five selected electronics production machines.

Industry 4.0 poses great challenges to electronics production, but it also has its advantages. The different use cases of the adaptive automation technology as well as the exact procedures on hardware and software side are often seen as too abstract by workers on the line. That is why productronica and VDMA Productronic have come up with a new special show for the 2015 fair. Augmented and virtual reality will be used to visualize various application scenarios on five different electronics manufacturing machines. “We want to show how Industry 4.0 can simplify the lives of the people who work with these machines on a daily basis”, says Christian Rocke, Exhibition Director of productronica. “This is not only interesting to our visitors, it also means exciting added value for the exhibitors participating in the special show.”

Experiencing the best innovations visually
The concept of the special show follows productronica’s new cluster structure: All the exhibitors in the fair's five clusters—i.e. PCB & EMS, SMT, Cables, Coils & Hybrids, Semiconductors and Future Markets—can respond to the Call for Participation by submitting their innovations. An independent committee will select the five products that will be shown in the special show about augmented and virtual reality at the fair in Munich from November 10–13.

“Pimp my machine”
What does the inside of a machine look like? What exactly happens in a machine's inaccessible areas? What instructions does the machine give the workpiece? These are interesting questions whose answers can be visualized with the help of augmented and virtual reality. The ongoing development of the human -machine interface has always been a key to success in the machinery industry. Workers don't just want machines that are easy to operate: they should also be easy to understand,” says Dr. Eric Maiser, Managing Director of VDMA Productronics. The applications for Industry 4.0 that can upgrade, simplify and improve electronics manufacturing machines are very diverse: “Right now we are experiencing the evolution from the built-in touch-panel display to operation using a tablet. Remote maintenance is being simplified considerably”, explains Maiser. If you hold a tablet camera up to parts of a machine, it recognizes them and an overlay image appears on screen showing the appropriate maintenance guide or work instruction—the user manual can stay on the shelf. Virtual and augmented reality are already being used in a number of sectors. Examples include the gaming industry, virtual planning tools for designing automobiles and for architects or the “star atlas” app for smartphones," explains Maiser. “This field has a great deal of potential for electronics production, and the purpose of the special show is to demonstrate some of those possibilities.”

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