Augmented reality: the future of field service

Phillips Corporation is now utilizing the potential of augmented reality technology to improve training to its worldwide team of field service engineers, including initial training of new engineers ...
by External Contributor
Dec 12, 2018

Phillips Corporation is now utilizing the potential of augmented reality technology to improve training to its worldwide team of field service engineers, including initial training of new engineers and supporting seasoned engineers, while also directly supporting customers working on their own equipment.

The current challenge of training and supporting field service engineers is a perfect storm of increasing equipment complexities and a younger, less experienced workforce. It was with this in mind, and after much research, that we were introduced to SimInsights by Greg Jones, AMT’s Vice President - Smartforce Development.

Phillips Corporation was founded by Albert Phillips in 1961 and was one of the original distributors for Haas Automation. Phillips now has more than 400 employees covering the territory from southern New Jersey south to the Florida border and west to Oklahoma, as well as the entire country of India. Phillips employs more than 100 field service engineers servicing equipment on site at customers’ locations across these locations. More recently, Phillips has established two training facilities for field service engineers, one in Knoxville, Tenn., and another in Pune, India. Phillips has plans to meet the challenge of providing an ever-increasing competency development platform for all of their field service engineers. 

The challenge: Provide the most effective service in the least amount of time

Phillips’ training and support centers are hubs of knowledge faced with a constant challenge of seeing what is happening in the field today, with a variety of machines and customers, and then properly advising engineers and customers in real time as to how a machine can be serviced. Phillips understood that augmented reality technology had the potential to reduce machine downtime by reducing the need for onsite service visits and making the necessary visits more effective. AR can allow Phillips to directly see a machine in need of service and allow Phillips’ technicians to instantly provide live guidance (through text and visual aids), resolving issues in far less time, even with less experienced engineers or customers.

Augmented reality as a key part of the solution

Having studied all the AR options available in the market, it was clear to Phillips that no existing AR/VR program had all the functionality Phillips required until we were introduced to SimInsights, an award-winning software and services company based in Lake Forest, Calif. SimInsights develops education and business software by leveraging unique skills in software, math, simulation, visualization, and design. SimInsights transforms training, sales, service, production, and design by leveraging virtual and augmented reality, simulation, sensing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning across the totality of employee, customer, and product life cycles.

One of the innovative functionalities in Phillips Vision by SimInsights is the ability to define scripted procedures with text and images that can be downloaded into devices and wearables, such as smart glasses, and used offline when there is no phone signal or WiFi connectivity.

The concept was introduced and field tested at the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2018, where the idea was proven effective by utilizing a Haas simulator with students downloading a program, editing that program, setting the work coordinates and tool length offsets and verifying the program in graphics mode.

With operations at opposite ends of the earth, Phillips Corporation is excited to continue to explore the possibilities of what augmented and virtual reality technology has to offer in educating field service technicians, providing real-time, on-site service applications that create a positive ROI. Phillips Corporation will display this new technology at IMTEX in Bangalore, India, in January 2019.

PicturePicture
Author
External Contributor
Recent technology News
Building F1 engines with sand. Blue screen of (literal) death. The importance of artificial idiocy.
For many augmented reality (AR) technology remains little more than a futuristic looking toy often demonstrated at trade shows. However, for those who have found applications for the maturing technology, its benefits are very real.  Count the US Navy...
The coronavirus crisis of 2020 is changing the way we work, perhaps forever. Travel bans, lockdowns, and social distancing policies disrupted business around the world, forcing companies to find new ways to work. The trend toward a more...
As manufacturers continue to recognize the applications and financial impact of transformative technologies, these same technologies are evolving our STEM classrooms and the way we train our workforce...
Transformative technologies will be on display at MT360 in Santa Clara, California, including augmented reality – the digital tool for manual work. Many manufacturers struggle to implement on-the-job training programs, as they necessarily...
Similar News
undefined
Technology
By AMT | Jan 08, 2021

We recently wrote about the Manufacturing USA Institutes as a public-private partnership resource for smaller manufacturers. In this article, we will focus on one in particular, the Digital Manufacturing Institute in Chicago, otherwise known as MxD...

2 min
undefined
Technology
By AMT | Jan 05, 2021

When you hear the word benchmark, you don’t always think insights, correlations, and in-depth analysis, but in this case, that’s what you’ll get. If you’re not already familiar with Gardner Business Media’s annual Top Shops benchmarking program, you...

2 min
undefined
Intelligence
By AMT | Jan 11, 2021

In addition to being an engine of economic power and a source of innovation that benefits the entire nation, manufacturing is critical to national security. Innovative new technologies and processes in manufacturing increase productivity, enable new...

3 min