Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) are among the most critical areas of various industries. These comprise the set of operations and activities associated with the physical maintenance and repair of a system or machinery that is an important key for the whole manufacturing process. The MRO sector in recent years has shown that it has undergone important changes that have significantly influenced the various industries, noting once again the importance of the processes contained in this term. In addition, with the highlighting of the development of the MRO, we also had the challenges that came in parallel with this development.
These challenges have caused maintenance, repair, & overhaul (MRO) providers to have a lot of difficulties related to the complexity of these processes but also to what customers require that are fast and effective solutions. These challenges present many problems not only for the providers of these services but on the other hand are also for the managers of companies that need these services. If the effectiveness of these three processes is not maximized, the companies they run are affected immediately and that translates into millions of dollars lost by disrupting production processes. What MRO providers need to do is to fulfill their tasks always keeping in mind the observance of certain criteria. These criteria have to do with continuous productivity, flexibility in different situations as well as fast and effective services.
We are presented with two situations, the first case involving companies that receive MRO service from providers. In the second case, we have companies operating in different industrial fields that have integrated the MRO service as a process performed by their technicians. In both cases, the goal is the same, the optimization of the MRO for operational efficiency of production processes, customer satisfaction, as well as the reduction of costs that may be affected by technical defects or the interruption of production. The growing need to ensure continued productivity and profitability has prompted MRO providers to adapt the solutions that Augmented Reality technology offers. This technology which offers application cases related to remote collaboration or technician training has mainly proven to affect the acceleration of maintenance and repair activities in real-time. At the same time provide companies with a stable place at both the market and the service supply side.
Mostly the platforms that offer AR-based Remote Assistance are being used extensively, especially by companies of different sizes and in different sectors from automobiles, oil and gas, airspace, mining to healthcare. These platforms significantly facilitate MRO by providing remote assistance to technicians who often encounter unexpected and unfamiliar situations. AR-based remote support is also commonly referred to as “see-what-I-see” remote collaboration. This solution makes it possible to have specialized expertise in the field at any time by crossing state borders. Often the field technicians face complex problems that require immediate solutions. Now, we have the solutions provided by a center remote expert who virtually can make the right inspections and give the right guidance. Everything is solved faster than in the traditional way by sending the expert to the field, and in this way, companies save money and time.
As mentioned above, thanks to AR Remote Assistance’s two-way audio and video capabilities in real-time, technicians and experts have the ability to make AR annotations and work towards the same goal. This not only reduces the costs of moving experts from the headquarter to the field but also significantly increases collaboration between the two parties. Immediately by improving this distance collaboration, the engagement and productivity of field workers in MRO tasks increase significantly. In addition, these tasks can be performed hands-free by giving the field technicians more flexibility. Now, this is happening thanks to AR wearable devices such as smart glasses, which improve the performance of technicians significantly.
To have always the right trained expertise is a big challenge for any business. Given the fact that experts with the necessary experience are few in number and retiring day by day, training of the new workforce is quite necessary. We can cite here as an example VSight Remote, which except providing remote collaboration, has created an innovative training feature that surpasses traditional training in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. This type of training enables up to 3000 workers across the globe to be trained simultaneously, facing scenarios that give them the opportunity to learn to make better decisions for solving many problematic issues that may suddenly arise in the future.
As we are seeing day by day AR has become a benchmark for the whole process cycle involving MRO. Many companies have already embraced this technology which is bringing them the right benefits and helping them achieve their goals. Given the fact that AR technology in line with the digital thread could take the MRO to another level, many other companies are going towards its adoption.