Technological progress is both a driver and a basis for change in manufacturing. The dynamics of technical innovation and increasing digitalisation demand organisational change and increased requirement for specialists. Immersive technologies, such as Augmented Reality (AR) and new forms of collaboration, offer enormous potential to change the cooperation between humans and machines, to make processes more efficient, sustainable and to create new revenue streams, in service.
Figure 1: Experts use oculavis SHARE with mobile devices and support machine operators to reduce downtimes of machines and systems.
Systematically identify and evaluate use cases
Production-oriented mechanical processes, namely maintenance, servicing, and processes like spare parts management, have numerous procedures in the company. Considering this complexity, a cross-departmental co-ordination in the definition of requirements for a software solution is important from the outset. The aim is to create the highest possible user acceptance through the joint development. Various perspectives are taken into consideration, for instance, compliance with data protection, occupational safety, and the need for certain functions that a remote support solution should fulfill in live operation. For the systematic identification of possible use cases, it is appropriate to consider past service assignments over a longer period. Application scenarios can be classified according to suitability, similarities, as well as costs and evaluated along the value chain.
New technology and collaboration solutions to transfer operational information
As an AR-based software solution, oculavis SHARE connects experts and technicians worldwide with mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smart glasses. In this way, knowledge can be made available everywhere and at any time to solve machine-related problems efficiently and resource-saving remotely.
Functionality and structure of individual modules in oculavis SHARE cover specific requirements in service processes. Fields of application with direct customer relevance, such as commissioning and troubleshooting are ideally suited to be executed remotely with expert support. In addition, oculavis SHARE finds a use in the worldwide networking of production sites to systematically share relevant knowledge and tap synergy potential in globally distributed production networks.
For standardised and recurring activities, such as commissioning, maintenance tasks, repairs or training of new employees, digital workflows offer a structured approach to knowledge transfer. With the help of the AR Viewer, a virtual X-ray vision, components of machines can be visualised in 3D and enriched with other component-specific information, such as circuit diagrams, data sheets or operating instructions. This merges the physical world of machines with digital work content.
Figure 2: Merging the physical world of machines and equipment with digital work content.
If a situation requires technical assistance, the machine operator within oculavis SHARE can receive direct audiovisual support from an expert, remotely. In this context, a variety of in video call features such as navigation mode, smooth zoom for hard-to-reach machine areas and advanced annotations as visual cues, help to achieve a focused and rapid problem elimination. Guest users of oculavis SHARE simply receive access to the remote service call with a link via their mobile or desktop browser. This function is particularly useful, in case of a limited possibility to install new applications on enterprise managed devices. An intuitive, device-independent UI always ensures a high user-friendly internal and external collaboration. The knowledge generated in the remote call can be systematically documented with screenshots and video recordings, to then be made available to your own employees or the end customer in the form of a summarised service report.
Figure 3: Extensive features help experts with a safe and targeted guide of a shop floor employee.
Digital business models for machine and equipment manufacturers
Beyond the transformation of service processes, oculavis SHARE offers the opportunity to expand the range of services and thus to establish new business models. With our white label option, machine and plant manufacturers benefit from corporate branding of the user interface and native applications, can thus seamlessly embed oculavis SHARE as a digital solution in their value chain. In a constantly competitive environment, companies secure growing customer experience through a broad and innovative range of services. By consistently aligning the value proposition with the customer, for example by focusing on overall plant effectiveness (OEE), the advantages of the new digital service become tangible, generate confidence in the new offering and create additional revenue potential from the machine builder’s point of view.
Analogue to digital processes ensures competitiveness and creates new service offerings
Manufacturing and processing companies have already begun to change traditional work methods due to the rapid developments in the Corona pandemic. Remote collaboration ensures the smooth running of processes in service, maintenance, and production, regardless of travel restrictions or other factors that make a physical presence of experts and technicians on site impossible. The digital transformation of machine-related processes with oculavis SHARE not only brings direct efficiency gains through increased machine availability, but also opens the opportunity for machine and plant manufacturers to explore and establish digital business models in service for new revenue streams. Augmented Reality-based processes can reduce travel expenses and implement the ecological aspect of sustainable management by minimising the CO2 footprint.
About the author
oculavis GmbH is a young German scale-up based in Aachen. Its software platform oculavis SHARE is used as a collaboration and process platform in Field Service, Customer Service, maintenance and repair or quality tasks. (Product video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXQx7lsThH8)
Nikhil Venkateshan is responsible for Business Development at oculavis GmbH. He is the country manager for the United Kingdom and Ireland regions.
Get a first-hand experience of oculavis GmbH’s solutions and meet some of the team at the Smart Factory Expo 2021 in Liverpool this November! oculavis can be found at booth G6 in the Digital Transformation Solution Theatre.
This year’s Smart Factory Expo, part of Digital Manufacturing Week 2021, takes place 10-11 November at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool and is free to attend for manufacturers.