Five Ways Wearable Tech Can Improve Manufacturing

Smart watches, tablets and virtual reality (VR) headsets are previewing the future of smart factories at a Magna Mechatronics division in Canada.

Dortec Industries is conducting a multi-year pilot project in partnership with Samsung that provides approximately 200 employees – including operators, quality inspectors and maintenance staff – with wearable technology.

“We are breaking some ground on this, but we’re still negotiating how and when to use it,” said Darren Charbonneau, Director of Operations for Magna Mechatronics Americas.

Wearable Tech can be:
  • REDUCE DOWNTIME. Instant messaging replaces inefficient paperwork, intercoms and walkie-talkies.  Instructions and updates can be delivered remotely.
  • IMPROVE TRAINING. Virtual reality headsets allow operators to practice hand motions in the classroom.  Other plants can do virtual benchmarking, cutting travel expenses.
  • IMPROVE COMMUNICATION.  Wearable tech is on the person at all times.  New functionality can be added as needed.
  • IMPROVE QUALITY.  Bottlenecks and issues are easier to track.  Data and analytics ensure that every assembly line has the support it needs.
  • BOOST EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY.  Response time increases and downtime could be cut in half.

The Dortec workforce is responding positively to the new technology.

“They love it – even the people who have never owned a smartphone in their life,” said Andrew Lukachko, a Maintenance Supervisor at the Dortec Bradford plant.  “In the past, it was all paperwork and hard to manage. Now, we have a new tool to record completed work and receive requests. It gives us a direct line to each other.”

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