Applications of virtual reality in maintenance during the industrial product lifecycle: A systematic review

Ziyue Guoa, Dong Zhoua, Qidi Zhoua, Xin Zhang, Jie Genga, Shengkui Zeng, Chuan Lva, Aimin Hao

Journal of Manufacturing Systems – Volume 56, July 2020

ABSTRACT – As a state-of-the-art computer technology, virtual reality (VR) is considered to play an important role in helping manufacturing companies stay competitive in the international market. However, despite the achievements made in the field of VR, it is still an emerging technology that lacks deeper exploration and development in industrial application scenarios, especially in the coming fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). This paper aims to systematically investigate the applications of VR in industrial maintenance to discover evidence of its values, limitations, and future directions so that VR can be guided to better serve manufacturing enterprises in remaining competitive in the coming Industry 4.0. A systematic literature review (SLR) methodology is adopted to review primary studies on this topic, by which 86 studies are ultimately included. The results show that VR has proved its value in benefiting maintenance issues through the product lifecycle. However, VR is still not an indispensable element for the lifecycle management of products regarding maintenance-related issues. Several key findings are concluded based on the analysis of the 86 studies. This review is valuable for researchers who are interested in the application of VR technology in maintainability design, maintenance training or maintenance task assistance.