Field service engineering has always been an important, yet challenging task for industrial organizations, which invest significant budget on Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO). MRO processes are implemented in multiple industrial settings including manufacturing shopfloors, energy plants, oil refineries, smart buildings, smart homes and more. In all these settings there is a need for maintaining and replacing equipment in order to ensure graceful operation of systems and processes. This requires planning for technician visits and availability of spare parts, as well as the establishment of proactive, responsive and cost-effective MRO processes that minimize expenses and optimize business results. In this landscape, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies are effectively used to increase the safety and productivity of field service workers.
VR and AR implementations for field service engineering leverage cyber-presentations MRO information and processes, as a means of guiding maintenance workers in completing their service tasks. This guidance results in faster and safer completion of tasks, when compared to conventional processes which involve the use of paper manuals for access to relevant information. Technicians no longer need to read these manuals and can access the required information through smart glasses and head mounted displays.
The introduction of digital technologies in industrial processes has enaled the use of AR and VR in field service engineering. Some of these technologies are:
AR and VR processes deliver a host of benefits for field service engineering, based on a variety of different applications, including:
It’s clear that AR and VR technologies promise to change the field service engineering landscape and lead to higher productivity. Nevertheless, there are still barriers and challenges to be overcome, including:
In the years to come, VR/AR technologies will find their place in industrial environments, as useful tools for field services engineering. This will change the life and productivity of field workers for the better. At the same time, it will deliver tangible business benefits to the enterprises, through offering them with more timely and cost effective solutions for maintaining their assets.
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