From our products perspective, one of the key goals to do better maintenance is to do it in less time (=saving money) and with less mistakes (=saving money, time and health risks too). This can be achieved few ways, through virtual reality and augmented reality. Both have more advantages and usage possibilities into them than what can be described here. While the augmented reality brings many new possibilities to actual maintenance task, virtual reality brings much more quality to training part.
Augmented Reality (AR) - Guides the process along the way on-site, detects mistakes etc
Virtual Reality (VR) - Helps to learn the process beforehand as hands-on practical training in safe environment
Virtual Reality -based training
- Good for educating about maintenance
- Benefits are usually
- Hands on training, through trial and error
- More informative and visual way of seeing subject
- Best when teaching about machines and structures of which user cannot see or handle the real version due to size, price etc
- Good for teaching order in which to do maintenance, not the actual task
- Typically maintenance workers know how to use screwdriver, so it is not important. Important is when and where to use it, and that is where VR-system could help.
- Within applications there could be
- Maintenance tasks from beginning to end
- How the device work with help of animations (to help to understand how it operates)
- Some simulation effects (like if the handle is at left position, what happens)
- Game like-environment and thus more immersive
- Can be large scale (screen larger than human) or small scale (normal laptop screen)
- Users can be trained at certain training facilities or they can train by themselves at home
Please see some early examples of the large scale version to the right. The other one was used at CERN to see in which order to construct the particle accelerator (and later on similar one was used for visualization purposes, although in smaller scale). The video is about astronaut training, one of first developments on this field. In the video system is first time tested with astronaut who has been at International Space Station and thus was able to compare real situation with the simulated traiging environement.
Testing training / visualization system built for CERN around 2004
In the video below: Astronaut testing the system at facilities of Alenia Spazio, Torino Italy. At the end of video Rocco from Alenia testing the system. This video from around 2002-2003
Augmented Reality -based maintenance operations
- Large cost-savings because of less downtime (maintenance process is quicker)
- Less mistakes made because of system which is guiding on site, and also because of error recognition system
- Health risks decreased because of less mistakes made
- Health risks decreased because workers need to spend less time at radioactive or other dangerous areas.
- Possibility to use also non-special educated maintenance workers for certain tasks
- Tasks are not delayed because of sick-leave or such
- Possibility to supervise work process over long distance and give guidance as needed
- Possibility to record working times at certain tasks
- Can be seen which tasks take longer (too many screws at some task?)
- Helps improving processes and gain even more time savings and decrease number of errors!
Please see an example of such an application in video below.
Some features of our cSTAR for maintenance -application
- Can show what to do right now
- On top of device at hand
- As video, images, text or speech beside the device
- Can have task list which to follow (what to do next etc)
- Can detect errors and warn about them before moving to next task
- Lets to have advice over the net at site
- Can show which of the parts are needed for assembly and in which order
- Can tell before going to site, which tools and spare parts are needed to take along
- Can guide all the way to correct room (finding correct room and machine might be problem in large facilities with many similar rooms and devices)
- Can warn about dangerous areas and device parts
- Can show metadata from devices around
- Contact information, content information,any other data
- Useful if there comes a need to contact some one i.e. "the pipe next to me seems broken, can I fix it with my current tool set or can you send someone over. If I am to fix it I can use this cSTAR for maintenance -system to quide me through it"
- Can show more information over the manual as hologram-like animated 3D, video, audio or such.
- Can be used for help during firealarms and other alarms
- Can show the quickest way out
Please see an example video about some of these features below.
Example of illustration above maintenance manual, with
animated and explained textual information
Example if illustration above maintenance manual
How much does your downtime cost? If you can save large amount of time from maintenance time with these systmes, how much are they worth?
How important is health of your workers? If you can save small or large injuries or dosage levels with theses systems, how much are they worth?
How much resources does it take to detect and repar mistakes made during maintenance? If you can minimize the number of those mistakes, how much is it worth?
How important is the ablity to let any maintenance worker to do certain task even without training for the particular device? If you can use other workers when the special ones are not available, how much is it worth?