AR Drives OEM Service Offerings
Grant Gerke | August 15, 2018
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) receive machine orders, build to specifications, deliver quality machinery, and sometimes provide ongoing maintenance services.
While this exchange has been the de-facto process between end users and vendors for years, it may become an artifact of the 20th century as OEMs work hard to introduce Industry 4.0 concepts.
One industry interested in new OEM processes is the food sector—specifically its packaging divisions. A chart from the webinar “Industry 4.0: New Opportunities for Food and Beverage Manufacturers,” presented by Tetra Pak, Pully, Switzerland (tetrapak.com), revealed asset utilization in these operations ranging anywhere from 20% to 40% (with 30% the approximate average.) By contrast, the automotive industry executes at a range of 45% to 60%, and oil and gas hits 80%.
The point is that end users want greater asset-utilization rates without investing in new equipment, and OEMs can increase revenue and better manage service contracts with customers. In a recent white paper titled “Innovative Predictive Maintenance Capabilities for Packaging Operations,” Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Vernon Hills, IL (mitsubishielectric.com), stressed the importance of equipment visibility from an OEM perspective.
“Specifically,” according to Mitsubishi, “carefully monitoring the failures of components can provide insight to future design enhancement, while providing insights to spares stores—mitigating carrying costs for unnecessary parts storage, particularly in remote geographies.”
The way OEMs service fleets is changing, too. In the past 16 months, many manufacturers have announced full-blown commercial-service offerings that use augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cloud-platform technology.
At the most recent Hannover Messe Show in Germany, Italpresse Gauss, Brescia, Italy (italpressgauss.com), announced the addition of AVEVA’s embedded AR and VR software for its light-metal casting machines. (Headquartered in Cambridge, UK, AVEVA, aveva.com, recently merged with the Schneider Electric software business.)
AMe, the new Italpresse Gauss service offering, allows operators to point a camera-enabled tablet at a machine part to extract augmented machine and maintenance-related data documentation to diagnose and repair faulty components. The maintenance process can include a tablet for initial diagnostics at the machine and a VR headset used by a remote engineer to help guide the local service team.
The machine’s augmented data comes from digital twins of the equipment components, created using AVEVA’s solution, Microsoft Visual Studio, DirectX, and Windows’ API. The digital twins of the physical assets allow Italpresse to not only launch a remote asset-management service, but also add workforce training to its offering.
“In an increasingly competitive global marketplace,” explained Italpresse Gauss president Carlo Scalmana, “it is critical
to separate ourselves from the competition by providing new value for our customers.” EP