Minimise Downtime, Save Costs and Digitalise SOPs with Simulanis Remote Assist

Simulanis
Simulanis
Jan 18, 2021 · 7 min read

Pressing Problems in Manufacturing Today

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching a machine stand idle — knowing that you’re losing thousands of dollars every minute that it’s not working. In fact, the average cost of unplanned downtime was estimated to be $260,000 per hour (Aberdeen Research, 2017). And when downtime does occur, the process of troubleshooting and repair can be time-consuming and expensive. It is often the case that on-site workers don’t possess the skill and knowledge required to repair complex equipment. Therefore specialised technicians from the equipment manufacturer have to be called from far away — COVID has however added further salt to the wounds with the world-wide travel restrictions imposed, causing severe disruption across industries.

Moreover, another efficiency gap that factories face today is the wide-spread and persistent use of paper-based SOPs. Up until now, these physical documents have been the norm across even some of the most advanced technology equipped shop floors. Although this methodology is still at par, it can be cumbersome, outdated and obsolete in today’s digitalised industry 4.0 landscape.

Introducing Simulanis Remote Assist

Simulanis Remote Assist offers hands-free technology that combines live video support, digital work instructions, AR annotations, media storage and voice commands, all under one application. When coupled with Smart Glasses, it empowers field workers to get live Augmented Reality enabled assistance from remote support engineers for quick diagnosis of critical troubleshooting issues. In addition, it allows workers and shop floors to go paperless, by having standardised digital work instructions projected through the lens of their glasses, leaving their hands free to perform the manual tasks required, thereby boosting shop-floor productivity and reducing margin of error. Workers also gain instant access to relevant equipment manuals, electrical diagrams and reference videos when most needed.

The application is equipped with a plethora of features, that can be broken down under 4 key pillars: My Assist, My Workflow, My Docs and My Recorder. These features work parallelly to reduce repair time, errors and boost your shop floor’s productivity.

An Effective Next-Gen Tool for Repair & Troubleshooting

Typically when a machine breaks down, production stops and panic starts…

On-site workers try to look through the given manuals and troubleshoot, however they are unable to diagnose due to lack of expertise and have to call the manufacturer’s technical support team. Step 2 is to call the OEM’s service team which can be a long and tedious process, as the service team is unable to see what the on-site team is experiencing. In industries such as Oil & Gas, mobile phones aren’t even allowed for safety concerns. If the problem still persists, step 3 would be to finally send out a team of specialists on-site to troubleshoot and repair. This can however be very expensive due to the additional travel costs, consultancy and repair charges incurred.

With the My Assist feature enabled on Smart Glasses, the on-site worker can simply put on a headset and share his view with the support team. The technician can then provide live step-by-step instructions to the worker. In addition, the platform’s Augmented Reality capabilities can be used to create real-time annotations on the worker’s field of view to facilitate communication and understanding of the exact procedure. Because the smart glasses solution is 100% hands-free, the worker is able to receive guidance documents whilst consulting with the SME in real-time.

Post the call, other features of the application come into play: My Docs, My Rec and My Workflow enable service technicians to share guidance documents, manuals, videos and even assign specific work instructions related to the procedure to the on-site worker. The worker can use these documents to effectively troubleshoot and repair the equipment in his own time post the call.

The ease in communication and collaboration streamlines the process and reduces the time taken for repair, maintenance and troubleshooting procedures.

MyAssist Features

  • Instant support to a remote expert via video chat
  • Draw Augmented Reality annotations that ‘stick’ to real view
  • Cross-platform collaboration, from Smart Glasses, Mobile, Tab and Desktop

Digitalising Procedures, Transforming Your Shop-Floor

SOPs are crucial documents that are a set of instructions created to help workers perform routine manufacturing tasks and serve as a guide for safe work practices. The majority of factories across industries still have these SOPs on paper, which come with several challenges:

  1. Lengthy & Cumbersome: The documents can be extremely long and text-heavy. If the instructions that a worker is looking for in the midst of a procedure are not easily accessible, he may end up ignoring them. Moreover, it can also be tedious and time-consuming to have to constantly refer to a document.
  2. Outdated or Faulty: Physical copies can be difficult to distribute and update across large-scale manufacturing operations. Operators hence often struggle with having outdated information, which can be a major concern if the executed workflow doesn’t match with the actual workflow that is required.

63% of fatal and 38% of non fatal accidents in industrial maintenance are linked to defective work instructions ” Source: Lind 2008

3. Lack of evidence: The work that an operator executed is not captured or logged, as a result, their supervisors don’t know whether the step has actually been completed or not.

4. Share-ability: Companies lack an easy way to share procedural knowledge and effective standards between factories.

5. Resources: The resources it takes to create a paper or PDF manual are extensive and expensive. They must be written by trained technical writers and then edited and distributed.

The MyWorkflow section of Simulanis Remote Assist addresses these challenges by transforming your on-site paper based procedures to standardised digital work instructions to boost productivity and error proof operations.

Digital Work Instructions represent the evolution of traditional paper-based Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) Documents. They’re detailed, actionable processes that track a day’s work across the shop floor and ensure that all necessary tasks are completed in the correct order.

Instead of carrying multiple paper-based documents on the shop-floor, it stores all your documents, images, videos, SOPs digitally — easily accessible through merely voice command through your smart glasses or via a few clicks on your phone.

It means that Engineers and Operators can start a shift with instant and convenient access to all of the correct instructions and documentation required to assist them in performing their job effectively. For Managers, it allows them to easily prescribe different workflows to different workers. This leads to lesser errors, better quality products and lower costs.

Workflow Features:

  1. Digital Workflows & Checklists: Replace paper-based SOPs with step-by-step digital instructions to reduce errors and enhance standard of work across the shop-floor.
  2. Work with both hands free: Hands-free operation on Smart Glasses, coupled with Voice Command, making operations effortless and with fewer errors.
  3. Author & Assign Complex Workflows: Create robust hierarchical workflows and prescribe to different workers, without any coding.

4. Capture Operator Inputs & Evidence: Checks, values, answers to MCQs of evidence in the form of images and videos can be easily logged on within the executed workflow.

5. Report Generation: Workflow details are automatically captured and presented in individual worker reports for swift assessment and evaluation.

6. Offline Access: No connectivity? No problem. Save executed workflow offline and upload later.

Anywhere, Anytime: Cross-Platform XR Solution

In today’s world, with so many smart devices, you can’t restrict yourself to just one. That is why Simulanis Remote Assist gives you the ability to access it’s benefits across multiple platforms and devices, from iOS and Android Smartphones to Tablets, Desktop and Smart Glasses. Currently, the application is available on RealWear HMT-1, a fully rugged, intrinsically safe ATEX Zone 1 and CSA C1/D1 certified wearable that can be used without fear in harsh environments.

Key Differentiators

Simulanis brings together years of industrial experience and strong affiliation with FTSE-100 companies to ensure that the product is solving real-world manufacturing problems across industries. The application is hence packed with features that address real-world manufacturing challenges. The multi-dimensional collaboration, interplay of features and the ability to work cross devices is what makes it one of the most unique and advanced productivity software for field workers today.

  • Remote Collaboration + Digital Workflow in 1 Application
  • Live AR Annotations
  • On-Premise Deployment
  • Local Support
  • Competitive Price Package

Summary

Apart from Repair, Troubleshooting and Operations, Simulanis Remote Assist also delivers value in Training, Audits, Inspections, QMS and Safety. The multi-dimensional collaboration, interplay of key features and ability to work cross devices is what makes it one of the most unique and advanced productivity software for field workers today. Simulanis brings together years of industrial experience and strong affiliation with FTSE-100 companies to ensure that the product is solving practical problems across industries. It has also partnered with world’s leading rugged smart glasses manufacturer, RealWear, to kick-start the adoption of Smart Glasses in India and help transform manufacturing production.

To find out more about what we have to offer, visit our website.

Simulanis

XR Blog of India’s most awarded XR Company