AGCO® is on the cutting edge of informed reality technology.
The agricultural industry hasn’t traditionally been known for its use of revolutionary technology. But AGCO is changing that.
Today, AGCO is increasing the efficiency, quality and safety of its manufacturing programs by pioneering the use of informed reality, a form of augmented reality that uses wearable devices like Google Glass.
Augmented and informed reality are different from virtual reality. The goal of virtual reality is to transport you, making you feel like you are in another physical space. Augmented and informed reality keeps you in your present environment, but provides additional information to your line of sight.
The epicenter of manufacturing innovation: Jackson, Minn.
The journey began in 2014 with a small pilot test at AGCO’s manufacturing site in Jackson, Minnesota, USA.
The plant in Jackson manufactures Massey Ferguson® and Challenger® high-horsepower wheeled tractors, Challenger track and articulated tractors and RoGator® and TerraGator® application equipment, many with price tags up to $500,000. Customers order equipment to the exact specifications they need — model, options, features, upgrades — then AGCO builds that unique machine on one of two assembly lines. With nearly 100 models to choose from, and hundreds of variations on each, quality control throughout the mixed-model assembly process is critical.
Finding a better way.
The thorough inspection of a finished product is an essential step in the quality-control process. In the beginning, quality checklists were accessed using paper on clipboards. As technology improved, computers were utilized. But computers required additional time to access, and couldn’t be carried to the equipment being inspected. Tablets replaced computers, but were easily broken and expensive to replace.
By 2014, it was clear that broken tablets and time spent on computers were inefficient. There had to be a smarter, more cost-effective way to conduct in-depth quality inspections. Enter informed reality, a solution originated by AGCO employees, who are empowered and encouraged to work together to solve business problems.
A win-win solution.
Today, 100 pairs of Google Glass wearable devices are in use at the Jackson site, assisting with quality control and other key assembly processes, like accessing manuals and assembly instructions. These wearables are all connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), the interconnection of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, that enable the sending and receiving of data.
Wearable technology allows the Quality Team to thoroughly inspect tractors.
Visibility to step-by-step details of the specific options and features a customer selected at purchase.
This cutting-edge technology has been very successful, already increasing productivity and improving product quality.
- 30% reduction in inspection time, with the elimination of paperwork and manual uploading
- 25% reduction in production time on low volume, complex assemblies
- 50% learning curve reduction for new hires
(Source: 2016 AGCO pilot tests)
Even before AGCO was recognized by its manufacturing peers with the 2016 Manufacturing Leadership Award for Internet of Things in Manufacturing Leadership, the company was making plans to expand the use of wearable technology devices globally.
The Future of Informed Reality at AGCO.
Technological innovations like this are the future of manufacturing, serving as the proving ground where lean manufacturing meets Industry 4.0. AGCO is pleased with the results so far and is proud to be leading the way.
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To learn more about this topic, contact Lindsey Pettyjohn, AGCO Public Relations Manager.