Canadian Manufacturing

SPONSORED: Remote work for industrial companies: solutions by RE’FLEKT

With Augmented Reality integrated into process and control apps, companies can collaborate visually over long distances in real time

April 24, 2020  by RE’FLEKT

Brought to you by RE’FLEKT


Manufacturing
Technology / IIoT

A worker takes a photo of a faulty machine. Then, at the touch of a button, they are connected to an expert who uses the image to draw visual aids with Augmented Reality directly on the machine. PHOTO: RE’FLEKT

The following is sponsored content provided by RE’FLEKT, an Augmented Reality (AR) software company that seeks to improve industrial machine maintenance and operations.

RE’FLEKT’s clients include Audi, BASF, BMW, Bosch, Eon, Hyperloop, Hyundai, Leybold, Porsche, Seepex and Thyssen Krupp.

Since its founding in 2012, RE’FLEKT has grown to a team of over 60 employees in Munich and San Francisco and the firm says it is recommended by leading analysts including ABI Research and Gartner.


During the coronavirus pandemic crisis, companies are looking for ways to adapt their work to new situations. Everybody is talking about ‘working from home’, but by no means can every type of work be done from a desk at home. Often, it is necessary for people to be present on-site, not only in production but also during inspections or for troubleshooting and repairing machines and equipment.

Usually, when problems arise, experts have to be called in by telephone, email or video. For complicated errors, it might even be necessary for them to come by in person. Support by phone or email is time consuming, tiresome and often associated with misunderstandings. Video calls are not interactive enough, and the physical presence of an expert is expensive. When travel restrictions are in place, the processes for maintenance, checks and repairs break down completely.

Companies have long had more effective communication technology at their disposal than Skype and its peers: With Augmented Reality integrated into process and control apps, companies can collaborate visually over long distances in real time. This gain in efficiency will remain of value even once the crisis has passed.

What advantages does AR offer and why are innovative remote technologies such as REFLEKT Remote ahead of traditional communication channels? We’ll demonstrate why remote work with Augmented Reality is so beneficial, both during and after the pandemic crisis, as well as how it saves companies time and money.

Key applications for AR in industry

Many companies already work successfully with remote AR: They report higher efficiency through time and consequently cost savings. Remote AR is particularly effective in two key areas:

1. Enhanced remote support

Employees can consult the relevant experts via chat or video. A diagnosis can be made or the way to solve an error can be marked via AR annotation, either on photos or directly within the video call.

Participants work together in real time and seemingly at the same location using a smartphone, tablet or AR glasses, such as HoloLens 2, Realwear HMT-1 or a Vuzix M400. Since all participants see the same image, they can make precise diagnoses and find solutions together.

Service teams can call in specialists for repairs who don’t have to travel to the site first. Instead, repairs are carried out on the spot under direct and visual guidance of the expert, which minimizes machine downtime.

Compared to a video chat or even email, this type of exchange with remote AR works faster and is frustration-free.

2. Find errors faster with AR guidance

Put away those hard-copy manuals: With digital and AR-supported guidance, errors due to inadequate descriptions, outdated images or checklists are a thing of the past.

With digital guidance that can be updated any time based on existing technical documentation, almost every employee is able to carry out AR-guided inspections or assemblies.

Step by step, employees are visually guided through the respective process and see exactly what they need to do via markers and instructions on the display of the smartphone, tablet or data glasses. In addition
to AR markings, animations and digital overlays over the real machines are also possible.

For example, the mechanical engineering company ERIKS uses AR-supported remote work for the maintenance and repair of complex machines. With the remote app from RE’FLEKT, workers are connected to the right expert at the touch of a button. The expert can draw advice and tips directly onto a photo or video of a component. This visual guidance through Augmented Reality speeds up the problem solving.

This approach is also suitable for education and training: AR-guided training, for example in the assembly or repair of a machine, can be more effective and time-saving than traditional training where an instructor must be on-site. Via remote AR, the trainer can supervise more trainees at the same time, and the waiting times are shorter for trainees.

REFLEKT Remote – benefits & advantages

With REFLEKT Remote, companies can securely and quickly provide on-site technical support, regardless of travel restrictions or other logistical issues. REFLEKT Remote also offers great advantages over traditional video providers such as Skype.

Areas/ Realms

  • Companies can create different areas in REFLEKT Remote in which users and incidents are separated according to certain criteria, such as region or brand.
  • Technicians no longer end up in the wrong place and can only contact experts who are located in the same realm.
  • Experts can be assigned several areas so that they can provide cross-brand and cross-regional support as needed.

Intelligent Routing:

  • If the realms are configured correctly, the right connection to the appropriate expert and the relevant information is established directly.
  • Employees do not have to decide which expert to consult for which problem. They are automatically connected with the expert who can provide the required assistance.

Incident Management:

  • Incidents are similar to tickets in a ticket system. Each ‘Incident’ represents a case for which the employee or technician requires the assistance of an expert.
  • Incident management with an integrated filter function provides an overview of all open, ongoing and closed incidents at all times.
  • Before a new incident is opened, previous incidents can be searched in the database and checked for possible solutions.

Reporting:

  • Integrated analysis tools show the user all previous incident data and user
    analyses.
  • In the admin area, data such as the number and duration of incidents and the
    associated communication is collected and can be exported.

Collaborative work with AR is a solution for every industry

Methods and applications proven to work in times of crisis can be the foundation for further increases in efficiency even after the crisis has passed. REFLEKT Remote offers the necessary scalability. The more areas in a company collaborate via remote AR in real time, the better and more efficiently their daily workflows can be organized and structured.

The range of possible applications makes remote assistance with Augmented Reality particularly interesting: Servicing, repairs and maintenance processes are common in almost all companies.

Error rates can be significantly reduced for everything from the assembly of furniture to production machines. AR precisely displays the structure of devices and vehicles or the layout of electrical lines. In addition, there are possible applications in plant engineering, in automotive manufacturing, in the health sector and in training and education in general.

For companies the help of specialists needs to be fast and easily available at different locations, regardless of the physical location of the expert. REFLEKT Remote makes exactly that possible. Contact us for a free consultation.


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