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Augmented Reality & Machine Learning

In the coming years, two technologies will play an important role in the digital transformation of the manufacturing and process industries: Augmented Reality (AR) and Machine Learning (ML). Various studies report that these technologies will continue to develop at a rapid pace and will be deployed on an increasingly large scale. With AR, users can interact with the production environment via a screen or glasses, on which what they see in real life is supplemented with digital information. With ML, production machines gain access to data that allow them to learn, make connections and control actions independently, which, in the past, was the sole prerogative of humans. In short, AR and ML are two promising technologies with different characteristics that can be applied in production. At the same time, it is quite possible that AR features will be enhanced by ML, for example by personalising the AR experience.

Hellebrekers keeps a close eye on Industry 4.0 developments in tech. Our goal is to be pioneers in industrial automation, which means we are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to further optimise process automation. By doing so, we contribute to the growth of a high-tech manufacturing industry in the Netherlands. Hellebrekers has launched its own innovation programme, in which we focus on innovative insights and applications of state-of-the-art technologies. As part of this programme, we are currently working on spectacular industrial applications of AR and ML.

AR bridges the gap between the physical and the virtual; blurring the distinction between these two worlds. Real-time digital information - flat or 3D, text or images - is projected over reality. As a result, AR users can still perceive the real world around them, but the picture they see is enhanced with extra information. AR consists of a software and hardware component. Well-known hardware types include the head-mounted display (HMD, e.g. the Microsoft HoloLens) and hand-held devices (e.g. smartphones or tablets). Through an AR application, the hardware recognises the real-world environment and adds a digital layer.

AR supports lean management, as technology reduces waste. In addition to reduced error rates and increased product and process quality, AR saves time on duplicate work and work instructions, wasted material and delays due to work stress. AR also improves work safety thanks to integrated alarms.


ML is a form of Artificial Intelligence, where a machine is able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. ML is built on algorithms that allow computer software to learn from experience, adapt to new input and complete tasks with something similar to human intelligence. Thanks to the algorithms, the software can therefore independently make analyses based on vast amounts of data, although this does require enormous computing power. In a production environment, ML allows machines to react to the context in which they operate, recognise patterns in process or product quality, take decisions independently and communicate with other machines. Besides performing intelligent tasks, ML also allows machines to learn from their mistakes.

ML has now passed the idea phase and is set to play an increasingly important role in the manufacturing industry. Machines that currently perform mainly repetitive tasks, for example, will increasingly learn on their own, fostering their ability to solve problems and continuously improve. As such, current business models will have to be rewritten and new business models may emerge as ML continues to develop.

The AR and ML applications Hellebrekers is currently working on are still in development. With great passion and dedication, our engineers are designing applications that will help the manufacturing and process industries move forward. As soon as they reach another milestone, we will let the world know via the News & Innovations page on this website.