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Augmented Reality and AI in industrial work management

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How can artificial intelligence, automatic data acquisition, data processing and data representation and augmented reality technology work together to master the challenges of industrial work in the future, even in medium-sized companies? The research project AI-MDA (“Automatic input processing for MTM-analyses and displaying in augmented reality environments”) should provide answers. But the hurdles for new technologies to be used in the field of digital industrial work management are high, since the technological environment has hardly been researched so far. In order to increase the prospects of success and the efficiency of the research work, the project was therefore preceded by a feasibility study funded by the Federal Government. The Deutsche MTM-Gesellschaft mbH with the Digital Solutions business area was able to achieve promising results, so that the green light was now given for the actual research project.

Motivation and need for the R&D project AI-MDA

MTM (Methods-Time Measurement) is the standard method for describing, evaluating and designing human work and for determining planned and target times. The MTM software TiCon and its derivatives have been used very successfully for years. However, the MTM training, the creation of time calculations, the manual entry of data, the allocation and the correct merging of data is still very time-consuming. In addition, with classic desktop software products, it is also expected that basic data maintenance processes will be simplified and new ways of presenting data will be developed. In this context, two central technology trends must be considered: data processing supported by artificial intelligence and alternative input and display options in the context of augmented reality.

Using AI in work management saves time and money

This is where the research project comes in. On the one hand, the AI-MDA technology should provide all the necessary data and, on the other hand, simplify usability and interaction using natural language processing and AI-supported assistance. In addition, the use of AR technology opens up completely new input options, such as capturing existing workplaces using cameras and extracting the required data using AI or machine learning algorithms. With the assisted support or guided data processing, knowledge of MTM is still necessary, but the time and costs involved are significantly lower. This can significantly increase the willingness to use the method standard and help to remove the obstacles on the way to systematic time management, even in medium-sized companies.

Study designates MTMmotion® as a bridging technology

On the one hand, the feasibility study focused on the general feasibility of implementing the research project; on the other hand, the eight-month project time was used for the detailed planning of the R&D project, which was essential in view of the complexity of the subject, the numerous possibilities of failure and the little information due to the hardly researched technology branches AR and AI in medium-sized companies. In order to implement an economically viable innovation, it was not only necessary to identify and minimize the technical risks, but also the economic ones. These goals have clearly been achieved. Technologies for implementation were named, possible obstacles identified and a good starting point created for the subsequent research project. The technologies used and further developed in the research project include MTMmotion® for generating MTM analyzes based on automatically determined movement data – the solution that bridges the gap between the real and the digital world.