Assembly line workers at a large automobile manufacturer are often required to complete intricate tasks in tight and challenging-to-reach places in the final stages of production.

The introduction of a new, complex wire harness assembly with upwards of 300 required vehicle connections at a North American production facility resulted in assembly line technicians frequently moving back and forth between the assembly station and an offline computer display of the relevant work instructions.

These processes were very inefficient and often resulted in placing lineside staff into poor ergonomic positions.

What Accenture did

Accenture XR knew the solution to these challenges was the introduction of connected worker technology with Upskill Skylight and smartglasses. Step-by-step instructions for installation of the wire harness assembly were adapted into Skylight, where existing 2D and 3D content could be repurposed for use with smartglasses to provide a more engaging experience with the work instructions.

The augmented reality (AR) system allowed technicians to access hands-free instructions at point-of-assembly in real time.

People and culture

A variety of human factors contributed to the need for a better work-instructions system in the harness assembly process. Three individual stations in this process, particularly Station 1 – wire harness install – had long takt times, the average duration between start of assembly at the station and completion. The addition of Skylight technology was shown to dramatically improve the time-to-proficiency of new workers while reducing the total time experienced assembly personnel spent aiding less experienced staff during production, improving the team’s efficiency.

Overall employee comfort, safety and satisfaction were improved by reducing ergonomic stress from interacting with desktop work instructions.

Value delivered

Accenture determined the cost of implementing Skylight and smartglasses could be recovered in less than one year through elimination of expensive legacy work instruction stations and reduction in personnel hours required for training on-station.

Reduction of ergonomic stress in allowing line technicians hands-free access to instructions at the point of assembly increased overall employee comfort, safety and satisfaction. Line workers unfamiliar with the harness assembly station appreciated the ease of learning and visual interface to provide them a rapid means of on-the-job training. The proof of concept demonstrated a clear success in leveraging Accenture XR, Skylight and smartglasses to improve the efficiency of a challenging industrial task through AR technology.

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