Review: BioRiver Working Group IT – Augmented Reality

26. April 2021

Review: BioRiver Working Group IT – Augmented Reality

Under the title “Opportunities and challenges of digitization in everyday work”, the sixth online meeting of the IT working group on April 13 dealt with the topic of augmented reality (AR).

Augmented Reality (AR), also known as extended reality in German, means the integration of additional digital information in the user’s environment (or in a live video). AR thus superimposes new information on an existing image.

Using specific use cases, AR expert Markus Meier showed how AR solutions are already being used in everyday work at pharmaceutical companies.

Augment reality to speed up processes and avoid errors

Augmented Reality can make complex work easier, faster and safer and enables new ways of collaboration, communication and knowledge exchange – says Markus Meier, Head of Sales and Project Management at Goodly Innovations, a provider of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Solutions for regulated industries. In his presentation, he will present some customer examples that illustrate how processes in industrial manufacturing and packaging plants have been optimized with the help of AR.

AR enables multimedia assistance and instructions to provide employees with tailored and precise support in process flows. Employees are introduced to tasks using data glasses or a mobile device and are guided through all the necessary steps: Digital information that is displayed in the real world can be used, for example, to clarify walking routes and provide instructions for the correct maintenance and adjustment of machines with (moving) Communicate image and text.

The complex, regulated processes are mapped exactly and the teams and employees are shown the right tasks at the right time and in the right place. If, for example, a packaging system is converted to a new drug, the employees are shown step-by-step via their data glasses which movements have to be carried out on which machines and in which direction of movement. The next step in each case can only be carried out when all previous steps or settings have been correctly completed. In this way, errors can be avoided, changeover times accelerated and downtimes reduced.

The documentation of the prescribed work steps (SOP) can also be processed automatically, securely and compliantly with AR solutions. This point is also one that the employees would particularly appreciate, since the “annoying paperwork” would be relieved of them.

As a tool for imparting knowledge, AR is more suitable than other media such as reading online texts or video tutorials: According to neuroscientific findings, working with AR media focuses the attention and learning ability of the user particularly strongly. More senses are addressed and, by including the spatial context, both hemispheres of the brain as well.

This means that new employees can be trained more quickly and easily, and that employees can also be used more quickly and flexibly for new areas of responsibility and are significantly more efficient and productive. This is also an important point in view of the demographic change and the associated continuously declining number of employed persons.

According to benchmarking studies by McKinsey, there is still considerable optimization potential in the overall efficiency of plants (Overall Equipment Efficiency, OEE) in the pharmaceutical and biotech environment in particular. On the one hand, Meier cited the industry-specific peculiarities of the production operation as reasons for this, which often require complex changes, for example with products or filling formats, which leads to downtimes during the changeover. Another factor is the special challenges of the regulated environment, such as extensive documentation requirements.

Meier sees the greatest added value of AR in standardized processes and in the 3D area for visualization and collaboration. But AR applications can also help companies overall to increase their efficiency in all production phases and save costs.

At this point, once again, many thanks to Mr. Meier for the stimulating insight into the topic of AR. Thank you to him and all participants for the subsequent open and interesting discussion!

AK IT: It will continue in the summer

At the next AK meeting, to which we will probably invite you in 2-3 months, our member company Miltenyi Biotec will present a best practice example. Even if the online meetings have proven themselves, we hope for framework conditions that allow face-to-face events.

The working group IT in the BioRiver eV


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