Show the defect that led to the failure to the distant customer when working in the service center directly at the pump? Or lead him through the most important work steps, which are currently done? With the use of smart glasses, the so-called Augmented Reality glasses (AR glasses), this is easily possible. Infraserv Höchst Prozesstechnik has already recognized the benefits of smart glasses. Although the newly founded subsidiary of the industrial service provider has only been operating since the beginning of the year, the use of AR glasses has become a daily business. “The handling of the smart glasses is simple and the possibilities of use varied,” says Frank Unger, Managing Director.
With his rapidly growing team, Frank Unger offers consulting services that can sustainably increase the availability of complex process equipment. The three service lines Asset Management & Engineering, Reliability Management, Pumps and Drive Technology as well as Process Analysis Technology offer technical services related to the production processes.
Customer benefits through the use of smart glasses
“We develop a holistic maintenance strategy based on an exact analysis,” explains Unger. Its employees can also provide all the technical services necessary to implement these concepts. Further advantages: The new service company works independently of the manufacturer and also has a lot of experience as a plant operator thanks to the close cooperation with colleagues from other Infraserv units. The employees provide the technical services in their own specialized service center as well as on site in the customer’s facilities. The smart glasses are used to reduce throughput times and ultimately to shorten system failures.
“We make digitization if it brings us and the customer something,” says Unger. “The smart glasses facilitate necessary votes and are very well received by the customers. This promotes intensive, collaborative partnership – the prerequisite for us to be able to develop tailor-made maintenance solutions. “
Uses of the smart glasses
The images of the AR glasses can be shared via video, picture and sound.
By using the smart glasses it is possible for employees to show customers live the implementation of important steps and to coordinate necessary measures directly – in this way, for example, Very easy to carry out acceptance tests on devices of the customer on the PC. For on-site repair work, specialists from the computer can also be added as virtual support. The smart glasses also help with the documentation, in that photos of the individual work steps can be created voice-controlled. Data archiving takes place electronically in the order documents.
The user of the smart glasses can not only transmit his field of vision live, he also benefits from visual additional information that can be displayed with him. These include e.g. Checklists, master or manufacturer data – all relevant data and documents can be made available digitally. This simplifies the work and saves additional paper processes.
“All the data is available digitally right from the start and they can handle their processes using state-of-the-art technology,” explains Ralph Urban, Head of Maintenance & Real Estate Competence Team at IT Service Center, who has introduced the company’s smart glasses. “In this way, media breaks can be prevented: There is no paper process, the processing is thus faster, the density of documentation is higher and of course the professional use of modern technology also promotes the external effect.”
The smart glasses are also very popular in other areas of the parent company. The augmented reality glasses have been extensively tested in various areas. Future deployment scenarios include, for example, technicians and production staff in on-call service, who can quickly engage subject-specific staff when using the glasses. Inspections of our own production facilities for inspection as well as from external locations are also possible by using smart glasses from the PC.
For some time now, the service provider has also been driving mobile maintenance – the so-called mobile maintenance – in which self-developed apps are used to carry out repairs as well as maintenance and inspection on a mobile basis. By using apps on tablets and smartphones, work orders can be updated on a daily basis and implemented directly. For example, apps for mobile message capture and mobile maintenance and inspection are currently in use – 853 km of pipelines and 270 E-stations accommodating transformers and switchgear can be checked and maintained more efficiently in this way. The intuitive operation with voice input, photo and video function, GPS information and QR code recognition also support the further work process.
Perspectively, smart glasses should also be used in these fields of application. In order to meet the needs of users and to use the smart glasses with the greatest possible benefit, the Service Center IT also deals with the development of a software application for “maintenance and inspection” for the AR glasses. “For us, the integration into our existing systems, for example SAP, and thus the processes involved is very important,” explains Urban. “In cooperation with a software service provider, an app for smart glasses is developed as part of a thesis, which is tailored to us.”
The big advantage of the smart glasses over the smartphone is the hands-free operation and thus a safer working. The operation of the smart glasses works via voice control and can be carried out with the complete personal protective equipment (PPE) – especially in the industrial environment, this safety aspect is an important argument for further development.
The article was published in CHEManager, Germany’s leading specialist medium for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries: