AR-Glasses-Shop-Floor

May 5, 2021

POCLAIN HYDRAULICS INTRODUCES AUGMENTED REALITY GLASSES ON THE SHOP FLOOR

AR-Glasses-Poclain-Shop-Floor

In 2020, Poclain appointed our first Group Digitalization Manager. Benjamin Marchand started working in manufacturing engineering in the French and US plants, learning the operations’ inner workings. Today, he and his team are responsible for deploying digital tools and processes group-wide, with a cross-department holistic approach. His latest achievement is the introduction of augmented reality glasses that enable rapid training and troubleshooting on the shop floor.

AUGMENTED REALITY BRIDGES THE GAP DURING LOCKDOWN

With the pandemic, all travel plans within Poclain have been suspended since March 2020. Yet travelling was warranted to start the new pump assembly line in Yorkville, U.S.A., and a team of pump experts and technicians from Gaggio, Italy, had been appointed to make the trip. COVID-19 forced them to come up with an alternative, and they turned to the Hololens® augmented reality glasses. With them on, the Yorkville operators showed the machine interface to the experts in Italy, who followed on their PCs and gave instructions using Microsoft Teams. On another occasion, when the Yorkville test bench required repairing, the technician used the glasses to work with the expert in Slovenia. He fixed the equipment within hours.

The glasses lay holographic elements on top of the real world, like an arrow or a 3D drawing. Their sensors and cameras follow the user’s eye and hand movements. At the other end, collaborators hear and see as if they were in front of the machine.

THE GLASSES ARE AN ALL-ROUND SUCCESS

The feedback regarding the glasses is excellent. Knowledge sharing is instant and intuitive and saves the expert a week’s travel to get to a plant on another continent. Time is reduced, and collaborative learning enhanced. So far, the group has ten pairs, all located in the manufacturing facilities. “We are now exploring new fields for the augmented reality glasses,” says Benjamin Marchand.

“One is for our customers. A Poclain Hydraulics field technician can commission a system and fine-tune the interaction between the components while the pump, motor, and electronics experts assist remotely. Our customers save time and get a more comprehensive report.”

 The new service will be available this year. The glasses also come in handy for internal training, and the Digital Team working with Benjamin is creating modules for machine maintenance. Lastly, in the field of innovation, engineers from remote locations can work together on a 3D simulation.

Poclain Hydraulics’ digitalization process, which began two years ago, has become more relevant and urgent with the lockdown. The augmented reality glasses demonstrate how digital tools empower operators, facilitate cross-fertilization, and accelerate problem-solving. Practices are changing in depth, and the post-lockdown era will blend in-person and digital ones.

For more information contact Benjamin Marchand, Group Digitalization Manager