Remote technical assistance

Remote Technical Assistance: Vol. 3 - support tools for aseptic carton packaging

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution gaining ground, the need for Remote Technical Assistance (RTA) in the toolbox of any aseptic carton packaging company is a given. Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Cloud Computing, Internet of Things: these are but a few Industry 4.0 technologies that, slowly but steadily, are changing the shape of the industry. However, as it always happens when some new disruptive innovation comes around, it requires specialised training. In light of this, IPI has built a well-established portfolio of proactive services to help aseptic carton packaging players take advantage of this opportunity. In addition, it has launched a remote technical assistance suite as a supplement to on-site support. 

RTA, however, does not simply concern what you offer, but also how you can reach the customer and make yourself available when things get rough. Truth be told, aseptic carton packaging is a minefield, with plenty of minor issues that can endanger the product. Therefore, the ability to provide RTA right on time is essential. Because of this, IPI employs a vast array of tools when it comes to deliver Remote Technical Assistance to its customers, such as:

  • Data Collection System
  • IoT Support
  • XMReality

Data Collection System

DCS, short for Data Collection System, is an AI-powered smart factory solution to boost machine performance while reducing the costs of the filling line. By leveraging IoT big data analysis, machine learning and embedded computing, DCS makes it possible for line operators and production managers to remotely assess the efficiency of the production plant. Thanks to internet-connected sensors, DCS tracks machine performance over time, turning raw data into actionable insights. 

With just the click of a button, the client can view the historical progression as well as a real-time dynamic visualisation of all relevant data points and quickly take corrective action when it's needed. The primary perk of DCS is indeed its capability to transform unintelligible data about machine productivity into well-presented graphs and reports that make sense. 

The secret behind this is DCS' user-friendly interface that lets the client gain key information about Mechanical Machine Efficiency (MME), Production Time Utilisation (PTU), Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF), Mean Time To Restore (MTTR) - not to mention waste, production batches and more.

Indeed, thanks to DCS, IPI's RTA services unlock new valuable possibilities, such as:

  • Remote monitoring of the customer's production and fillers in order to provide a fruitful technical service & predictive maintenance. 
  • Collection of big data from fillers to drive continuous improvement of the customer's machines.
  • Management of maintenance time and costs of each machine.
  • Checking events and alarms to identify potential anomalies or causes of malfunction.
  • Recording and submitting scheduled ad-hoc maintenance interventions.
  • Supporting the customer during troubleshooting by searching the historical causes of the problem recorded during production.

IoT Support

IoT Support is a technical assistance tool that exploits the power of the Industrial Internet of Things to detect a malfunction as it happens. Thanks to IoT-powered sensors implemented in the filler, which is connected via the internet to the PLC as well as to the machine dashboard, the client can monitor parameters in real-time, identify potential production issues and fix them pronto with the remote assistance of IPI’s specialised technicians. 

IoT Support is available for all our aseptic filling machines. It presents the data through a simple graphical user interface that instantly lets IPI evaluate all machine parameters at a glance. Furthermore, IoT Support allows IPI to take control of the customer's machine in order to fix issues or solve technical problems. 
IoT Support has many advantages for the client:

  • Quicker, cheaper troubleshooting, as the time and cost of finding the root cause of the issue is significantly decreased
  • Unexpected downtime reduced to a minimum
  • Lower operating risk

XMReality

Smart glasses

XMReality, short for XMReality Remote Guidance, is an Augmented Reality tool that overlays visual information about the problem at hand on the line operator's field of vision. It is available for all IPI’s clients via web or mobile application for personal computers, smartphones, tablets and smart glasses.

It solves a real problem of remote technical assistance, that is, the difficulty of directing the customer’s line of sight towards a specific part of the machine. With XMReality, IPI and the client can effectively share the same viewpoint, making it easy to explain what to do to solve the issue. 

Thanks to XMReality, IPI’s technician sees what the client is looking at, which in turn can pinpoint the problem. At the same time, IPI’s technician can visually show the client how to fix it, both of them being able to use gestures and speech to communicate.

Through XMReality it is possible to:

  • Hands-off AR technology: the customer simply points their phone or mobile device’s camera at the problem and IPI’s technician can, with gestures, drawing-on-screen, or other tools, show them what to do, step-by-step.
  • Quickly and seamlessly connect via call links: regardless of whether the recipient receives the link via email, SMS or other means, they can simply open it in their browser and click “Start Remote Guidance” to directly call IPI’s technician. The customer doesn’t need to install the app or set up a user account.
  • API integration: the customer can seamlessly integrate XMReality Remote Guidance with their own system through APIs to customise their own system, taking maximum benefit from the data.
  • Many other functionalities, such as file sharing, group calls, call recording etc. 

Conclusion

This day and age, with Industry 4.0 coming to the fore, Remote Technical Assistance (RTA) is more important than ever. While it is never going to completely substitute on-site support, RTA can offer a wide variety of tools and services to strengthen the customer's value chain. In actual fact, the expertise necessary to take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is very complex. To tackle this issue, IPI provides cutting-edge RTA tools exactly for this purpose, exploiting the power of Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and Augmented Reality to always be there for the customer. 

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