Adhesive bonding processes are an integral part of many areas of manufacturing and are integrated as a (sub-)process into existing production processes. The use of adhesive bonding technology ranges from small workshops and companies to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Adhesive bonding technology is currently characterised by manual work steps, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which are often carried out by skilled workers from other areas (e.g. welders). For this, work/process instructions are provided in paper form for the executing personnel.
The central solution of the STEP-UP project is the development of an adaptive assistance system for SMEs to support employees in adhesive bonding production - from the first surface preparation to the final digitalised quality assurance documentation of the entire process.
One of the project tasks at OFFIS is to examine the possibilities of support through portable devices and augmented reality. The objective here is the standard-compliant mapping of bonding technology processes, the provision of all necessary information for carrying out (parallel) work steps and the investigation of a possible semi-automation of necessary documentation such as (bonding) protocols.
In addition, STEP-UP takes into account various influencing factors such as industrial safety measures during development, as the wearing of gloves, protective goggles, clothing and, in some cases, respiratory protection is mandatory in adhesive bonding technology manufacturing.
As part of the human-centred design process (HCD), the working environment and the working conditions of workers were examined as part of a context analysis through participation in a training course for adhesive bonding practitioners at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research in Bremen. Interviews with experts were also conducted for this purpose. This was followed by the prototypical design and development of the human-machine interface for the support system. Thus, the conception phase of the HCD process could be completed with the creation of design solutions in the form of different mock-ups.
In the further course, studies were carried out to support the workers with the help of augmented reality. Parts of a reference process were mapped.
Study 1: Augmented reality to support time-critical assembly assistance
Study 2: Augmented reality to support parallel and time-critical assembly processes
In practice, certain process tasks, such as the positioning of spacers, are not carried out singly but in parallel in order to shorten process times and increase productivity. In the past, however, this often resulted in process errors: for example, failure to observe different times or incorrect spatial positioning of spacer and joining parts.
For this reason, three AR work instructions were compared on a tablet to investigate how many process tasks can be displayed in parallel. The aim was to show how the error rate, the process time and the cognitive load change when parallel tasks are displayed. In addition, the usability and possible acceptance criteria were also tested. The process steps selected by OFFIS were derived from the requirements for bonding processes defined in DIN 2304-1:2019-10, so that a standard-compliant display and the provision of all necessary information for the execution of the individual work steps was achieved.
For the study, four particularly error-prone work steps were selected from an overall process. A section of the view in augmented reality is shown in Fig. 2.
The steps are used in training courses and are therefore particularly suitable, since the study was conducted by participants with no experience in adhesive technology. The results of the study should make a positive contribution to supporting workers who work in time-critical processes where, in addition to safety requirements, the exact spatial positioning of joining parts plays an important role.
You can find out more about the project at: https://www.offis.de/offis/projekt/step-up.html
Implementation of the study by Jannike Illing
We would like to thank the private environment of Jannike Illing (family, friends and acquaintances) as well as our colleagues who made it possible to carry out the study despite the Corona pandemic by strictly adhering to all protective and hygienic measures.
Responsible for the project: