With the current increased demand for bread and other bakery products, the last thing bakery manufacturers want right now is downtime. But with travel restricted and visitor policies strengthened, many companies have struggled to get the service and maintenance they need. This is especially true for manufacturers that use equipment manufactured overseas.
To help bakery facilities keep their lines up and running, Naegele is now offering remote assistance via augmented reality (AR) through our Denmark-based partner SENIUS Food Equipment. All you need is a smartphone, and an experienced factory-trained technician can lead you through any maintenance or service activities in real time.
By eliminating travel and related expenses, this technology can save manufacturers thousands of dollars on service calls. Most importantly, it significantly shortens the time between when an issue occurs and when it can be resolved. In other words, say goodbye to unplanned downtime.
How AR-powered remote assistance works
In choosing a virtual service platform, we wanted the most customer-friendly option available. “When the travel restrictions hit, a customer in southeast Europe asked if we could use augmented reality to install their new oven,” said Thomas Sehested, Automation Manager / Partner at SENIUS Food Equipment. “So, I started to investigate how to do it using a cost-effective, already-proven system.”
The system Sehested decided on was remote connectivity software TeamViewer, which can be used with either AR glasses or a smartphone. “I believe the smartphone application will be more popular because everyone already has a phone,” he said.
To use the system, all the on-site operator has to do is install the TeamViewer Pilot app, and then a service technician invites them to a meeting. Using the app, the technician can see what the operator is filming, communicate via the microphone and ear buds, and use a marker to draw directly on the screen.
An operator using TeamViewer to film the inside of an oven. The arrow and circle on the screen are instructions from the technician.
This setup allows our experts to support customers in a variety of ways:
- Baking profiling
- Preventive maintenance
- Product or quality reviews
- Solving production issues
- Discussing new ideas or projects
Benefits of virtual service
At the moment, travel from Europe to the United States is restricted, so in-person service calls aren’t currently possible at all. But virtual service will likely remain a popular option even after the borders are open because of the benefits it provides for manufacturers, mainly by reducing costs.
The biggest cost of any service issue is downtime — every minute a line isn’t running is a minute’s worth of lost revenue. With remote assistance, service calls can be scheduled as soon as possible, rather than having to wait for a technician to become available for travel.
There are other expenses associated with in-person service calls as well. Once time and travel are taken into consideration, it can run $5,000, or even $10,000, to bring a technician on site. By eliminating the ancillary costs, virtual service brings the price tag of that service call down to $1,000 to $2,000.
Finally, virtual service helps manufacturers’ in-house maintenance staff gain knowledge and expertise about the equipment installed in the plant. This will provide an advantage for years to come.
For these reasons, we believe that remote assistance will be the way of the future, even after travel restrictions are lifted.
Naegele is the exclusive North American partner for SENIUS Food Equipment. To learn more about our virtual service offerings or to schedule an appointment, contact us.