Manufacturing may become the first industry to adopt metaverse mainly because metaverse stands a large chance of solving problems occurring to manufacturers as well as there has been much investment in industrial IoT infrastructure including AI and 5G private networks.
What metaverse would look like is still unknown, but it is certain that high-speed networks, AI machine learning, cloud/edge computing, big data processing, AR/VR/MR, and blockchain technology link sensation in reality with virtual scenarios, which nurtures metaverse development in the industry field.
There is strong demand for metaverse from manufacturing industry; for example, to cope with the shortage of labor, senior technicians can impart domain know-how to computers via digital approaches.
Manufacturing industry can benefit from metaverse in the simulation of production line optimization and remote collaboration for repair and training of new employees, by adopting digital twin technology based on metaverse.
By using AI to simulate real objects, a digital twin is to imitate real equipment as virtual equipment of the same specifications and thereby can be used to simulate optimization of equipment before setting up new production lines as well as find defects in products.
For automobile manufacturing, a digital twin can be used to simulate autonomous driving in virtual scenarios for adjusting sensing functions. BMW spent six months using digital twin technology to set up a virtual car plant. Based on recommendations derived from simulation in the virtual plant, the company revised 30% of the original design for the factory to innovate in the assembly process and even shorten time from product concept to production.
Digital twin combined with AR/VR devices enables remotely collaborative repair of failing equipment. Only repair technicians need to stay where failure of equipment happens, while engineers can find causes of failure via remote monitoring and put commands and repair procedures into ARVR devices to let technicians on the spot undertake repair. Matched with collaborative robots and machine vision technology, the remotely collaborative repair can be quickened or an early warning for failure of equipment can be sent.
Metaverse-based training of new employees can avoid exposing them to dangerous working conditions such as high temperatures, high pressure, or large noise through immersion training in a virtual manufacturing environment. In addition, the immersion training allows them to be instructed on the correct operation of crucial parts of production lines to avoid irretrievable mistakes. Besides, such a training method can save the cost of transporting them to factories for field practice.
While the aforementioned benefits are on a relatively short- to mid-term basis, benefits on a long-term basis could be innovative solutions for manufacturing processes or material management through integrating data from a manufacturer’s different factories into a virtual factory and even connecting integrated data with supply chain makers’ data.