Industry 4.0 is a dream come true. Automated processes, robotized operations, autonomous factories... We can already see it! But if we are on the path of these changes, the ideal 4.0 will not be achieved immediately and effortlessly.
Each innovative technology involves changes, more or less profound, more or less heavy, more or less costly. At the centre of these changes, there is one key element : the human being.
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The objective of this article is to understand how the introduction of a new industrial maintenance technology impacts the operation of a plant and the teams that make it up. As experts in the implementation of Augmented Reality technologies in Industry, Spectral TMS offers you here an analysis of these issues through the prism of our technology: Augmented Reality.
(If you don't know what Augmented Reality is: https://spectraltms.com/2020/05/26/realite-virtuelle-realite-augmentee-et-realite-mixte-comment-se-retrouver-parmi-ces-technologies-immersives/ )
I. The impact of innovation on existing processes : inevitable changes
One of the first things we have found out from our customers is that no one manages their maintenance know-how in the same way. From the person responsible for centralization to the format in which this know-how is kept, we do not observe any obvious trend.
So sometimes we have a pure and simple absence of a written support of the maintenance rangessometimes... an excel filesometimes a software, often paper documents...to each his own. What is certain is that the digitalization of these processes will be a consequent change.
Indeed, digital tools will shake up existing habits and processes. Therefore, switching to a digital solution such as a CMMS and/or Augmented Reality solution will require raising operator awareness of new tools.
Manual maintenance management will give way to automated, dynamic and connected tools.
An example : one of our customers had the task of writing and printing out its maintenance processes and then placing them on the workstations of each operator concerned. With the integration of Spectral TMS, this process was eliminated and replaced by a simple notification in our software indicating that a procedure had been added or modified. As soon as the notification is received, the operator knows that a new maintenance range is available in Augmented Reality and can operate it as soon as necessary.
It's time-saving and transparent, easy to scale and, environmentally friendly.
II. How to ensure a smooth transition : the 2CAT method
2CAT means Characterize, Centralize, Accompany, Test. 2CAT, "two cats", easy to remember.
We use this method to ensure that the breakthrough innovation we propose is adapted and with a high level of involvement of the teams concerned.
In order to ensure the successful implementation of a 4.0 technology, the first key is to define the project.
In the case of our services, it is a question of identifying one (or a few) specific use cases where Augmented Reality can offer a strong impact. Concretely, it can be a complex maintenance operation where the technician will benefit from being guided, step by step, in order to reduce errors and accidents risks or even loss of time searching for specific information.
The next step is to identify the team in charge of the project, its duration and the objectives to be achieved. The objectives may be return on investment (ROI), field acceptance rate, reliability rate of the solution, or any other relevant criteria for an innovative solution.
This definying step is fundamental and its successful completion will ensure, if not the success of the experiment, a smooth process.
II. Centralize know-how
This step is specific to the implementation of a maintenance know-how management solution.
In order to allow a clear diffusion of your maintenance know-how, it is necessary to set up a database. It is necessary to identify and group together the ranges you wish to digitize and make them available via Augmented Reality.
The difficulty of this phase varies from one company to another : some already have a perfectly constituted and digital base, others will need to mobilise different experts who are the only ones with the targeted skills. In all cases, we accompany them in this work.
III. Accompany the teams
Your field teams are at the center of all the changes you make, so they need to be involved. They need to be involved in every step of the implementation of a 4.0 solution to be able to communicate their opinions and feelings, which ultimately determine the adoption and use of a solution.
This support implies a regular dialogue between the technicians, the management and the solution provider. Thanks to these exchanges, we can regularly iterate on the processes of implementing a solution and on the solution itself.
This is the main factor of success!
IV. Test & Learn
Already mentioned in the previous point : the logic of iteration. Each project is different and it is impossible to predict with certainty each stage of its development. This is why it is fundamental to try and adapt, throughout a project, in order to always be as close as possible to the reality on the ground.
To learn more about Augmented Reality and its applications, visit : https://spectraltms.com
Written by Vittorio Derisi, augmented reality expert at Spectral TMS