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Chatbots and Augmented Reality are the future (present) of industrial maintenance

Industry 4.0 | Tommaso Motta, 7 January 2020

There are many tools in the modern digital age capable of increasing the efficiency of businesses operations, personalizing the communication with workers and customers and ensuring an advanced and streamlined interaction between humans and machines. Two of the most recent tools to be adopted by the manufacturing industry are chatbots and augmented reality (AR).

How Chatbots and Augmented Reality work

Chatbots are communication softwares that allow the interaction between man and machine by using natural language thanks to a so-called conversational interface, eliminating the need of interaction through programming languages. These softwares are therefore able to understand users’ questions and respond accordingly.

Augmented reality is a technology that allows workers, thanks to the so-called overlay, to “enhance” the real world field of view by superimposing data, information, and diagrams onto it by using smartphone and tablet displays or wearable devices such as head-mounted displays (HMD).

The role of Chatbots and Augmented Reality

The chatbot market is expected to reach a staggering $1.25 billion worldwide by 2025. Chatbots have been used until now usually for customer support, allowing companies to connect more easily with clients 24/7, but they can also be used by the manufacturing sector to:

  • manage supplies and inventory;
  • aid with order fulfilment and delivery;
  • simplify supply chain communications;
  • enable maintenance crews to check the conditions of machinery and equipment in the workplace;
  • facilitate maintenance crews operations.

The augmented reality market is also booming and is expected to grow to nearly $19 billion worldwide by 2024. This technology is being used to:

  • train plant workers;
  • improve worker productivity during machine installation, monitoring, and troubleshooting by providing them with real-time information so they can make adjustments/changes as they work;
  • improve the product design process by providing a visualization of the product in context and collaboration between parties that are separated geographically;
  • facilitate inspection and maintenance.

As we can see the many uses of chatbots and augmented reality can help a company significantly improve overall operations, product quality and, ultimately, profits.

Chatbots and AR in Industrial Maintenance: the main benefits

These two technologies allow workers to gather information quickly and test maintenance scenarios, all while working directly with the machine. The benefits of using chatbots and augmented reality in industrial maintenance are many, including:

  • fewer human errors;
  • faster execution of maintenance and repairs;
  • fewer machine breakdowns;
  • less machine downtime;
  • reduced maintenance costs;
  • improved operational speed and productivity;
  • better regulatory compliance;
  • higher profits.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how chatbots and augmented reality can achieve these goals.

Chatbots and AR for Tissue and Nonwovens Production Line Maintenance

Like we said in previous articles[1], thanks to Industry 4.0 the machines on the tissue and nonwovens production lines can be outfitted with dozens, even hundreds of sensors that are constantly transmitting operational data in real-time.

When wearing or using augmented reality devices, maintenance workers can have the data coming in from the machinery overlaid on their field of view. These can be environmental data, such as temperature and pressure, and machine-specific data, such as speed. Thanks to this interactive information, workers can identify operational errors and faulty parts and plan a predictive maintenance schedule that will help minimize machine breakdown while keeping them operating at optimal efficiency. They can also spot problems on the production line that need to be dealt with immediately, before they cause a disruption to production.

Read more: 4 Tools for Tissue and Nonwovens Machines to Reduce and Optimize Idle Times

Chatbots support augmented reality by allowing workers to ask for information for a specific machine, such as the availability of a required spare part or access to the operating manual to determine the best course of action for repair. The information requested will be displayed via augmented reality.

Integration is the Key

The integration of data is a key element to ensure a fully operational system of industrial maintenance is in place. To achieve this, the company needs a machine-and software-independent solution capable of gathering the data from every machine on the production line. These data will be integrated, analyzed and then displayed on a computer, mobile device, or augmented reality device, allowing the remote operation of a production line and an efficient maintenance process.

Read more: Cloud Computing and Integration with Machine and Corporate Applications

Chatbots and AR are here to help you boost productivity

Companies within the manufacturing sector need to bring their technological presence to the next level to survive in today’s competitive climate. Ultimately, Industry 4.0 technology, combined with chatbots and augmented reality, will help tissue and nonwovens companies remain competitive by obtaining high quality products while reducing costs.

For more information about the various tools capable of boosting productivity on your tissue and nonwovens production line, please take a look at our eBook 5 Industry 4.0 Tools that Boost Productivity in the Tissue Paper and Nonwovens Industry”!


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