Augmented Reality and the Chemical Industry

Augmented Reality and the Chemical Industry

Naveen Joshi 30/08/2018 2

From training new employees to high-end maintenance and repairs of deployed machinery, the application of augmented reality (AR) in the chemical industry is changing the face of management and operations in this segment.

A professor at the University of Rochester conducted an experiment, using an AR platform to demonstrate the working of a chemical plant. With cameras, projectors, computers, and a glass pane, the professor transformed simple coffee mugs to 10 cubic meter reactors and popsicle sticks to pipes connecting them. With the help of an AR software, the students were able to visualize real-life chemical reactions from within the four walls of their classroom. Augmented reality is changing the chemical industry. The example mentioned above, though on a small, indicates the significance of using AR in the chemical industry.

Here is how AR can be used in the chemical industry.

1. Training

AR, with the help of image and video capturing devices, overlaps existing visuals with a programmed reality. The overlap can be used to converge real-time chemical plant environments with a programmed simulation to train and instruct new employees in the company. It is necessary that the new employees know their job well, especially in an environment as precarious as in a chemical industry. Handling hazardous chemicals, operational settings of boilers and reactors, and dealing with varying temperature, humidity, and pressure conditions, should be demonstrated in real-time to the new staff. AR technology can help with such demonstrations. By programming the reactions and the chemical operations on AR software, industries can execute training sessions through AR handsets or tablets, which will run the appropriate videos by detecting the plant in its view.

2. Assembly

Another application of AR is the assemblage of complex machinery, plants, and reactors in the industry. Heavy machinery is usually a one-time investment and needs careful handling. Most of the heavy machines are exclusive to a single process or type of industry. For such machines, gaining an insight into the assembly arrangement is important. Wearable AR devices that offer instructions on the assemblage of chemical plants can be employed in chemical industries to help workers gain a better understanding of how equipment work.

3. Maintenance

Equipment used in the highly industrial sectors requires heavy maintenance. Relying on an expert technician for every minor fault or defect in a chemical plant is uneconomical. Besides, this can also lead to unnecessary delays in the manufacturing processes, if the technical support is not available immediately. To avoid such situations, chemical plants can invest in AR-enabled systems that offer DIY tutorials and videos to fix minor issues without expert aid. 

It is quite evident that the AR technology is altering the way we visualize and interact with the operations and management aspect in any business unit. Improving the precision and accuracy of the underlying infrastructure and algorithms can further refine most of the AR applications, still in the trial phase.

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  • Victor Murphy

    Interesting article. AR will find its way into many daily activities for chemists.

  • Taylor Hale

    Augmented reality is very likely going to become a major aspect of education and beyond.

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Naveen Joshi

Tech Expert

Naveen is the Founder and CEO of Allerin, a software solutions provider that delivers innovative and agile solutions that enable to automate, inspire and impress. He is a seasoned professional with more than 20 years of experience, with extensive experience in customizing open source products for cost optimizations of large scale IT deployment. He is currently working on Internet of Things solutions with Big Data Analytics. Naveen completed his programming qualifications in various Indian institutes.


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