IRON-MEN: augmented reality for operators in the Industry of the Future

I’MTech is dedicating a series of success stories to research partnerships supported by the Télécom & Société Numérique (TSN) Carnot Institute, which the IMT schools are a part of.

The Industry of the Future cannot happen without humans at the heart of production systems. To help operators adapt to the fast development of industrial processes and client demands, elm.leblanc, IMT and Adecam Industries have joined forces in the framework of the IRON-MEN project. The aim is to develop an augmented reality solution for human operators in industry.


Many production sites use manual processes. Humans are capable of a level of intelligence and flexibility that is still unattainable by industrial robots, an ability that remains essential for the French industrial fabric to satisfy increasingly specific, demanding and unpredictable customer and user demands.

Despite alarmist warnings about replacement by technology, humans must remain central to industrial processes for the time being. To enhance the ability of human operators, IMT, elm.leblanc and Adecam Industries have joined forces in the framework of the IRON-MEN project. The consortium will develop an augmented reality solution for production operators over a period of 3 years.

The augmented reality technology will be designed to help companies develop flexibility, efficiency and quality in production, as well as strengthen communication among teams and collaborative work. The solution developed by the IRON-MEN project will support users by guiding and assisting them in their daily tasks to allow them to increase their versatility and ability to adapt.

The success of such an intrusive piece of technology as an augmented reality headset depends on the user’s physical and psychological ability to accept it. This is a challenge that lies at the very heart of the IRON-MEN project, and will guide the development of the technology.

The aim of the solution is to propose an industrial and job-specific response that meets specific needs to efficiently assist users as they carry out manual tasks. It is based on an original approach that combines digital transformation tools and respect for the individual in production plants. It must be quickly adaptable to problems in different sectors that show similar requirements.

IMT will contribute its research capacity to support elm.leblanc in introducing this augmented reality technology within its industrial organization. Immersion, which specializes in augmented reality experiences, will develop the interactive software interface to be used by the operators. The solution’s level of adaptability in an industrial environment will be tested at the elm.leblanc production sites at Drancy and Saint-Thégonnec as well as through the partnership with Adecam Industrie. IRON-MEN is supported by the French General Directorate for Enterprises in the framework of the “Grands défis du numérique” projects.

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