SaarGummi transport expert service knowledge with Moverio smart glasses

A bespoke remote assistance solution based on Moverio

SaarGummi transport expert service knowledge with Moverio smart glasses

Discover how Moverio smart glasses from Epson are helping SaarGummi, a leading supplier to the automotive industry in the sealing business, to improve their service operations using a bespoke remote assistance solution based on Moverio.

‘Sealing the future with AR'

SaarGummi Neo use Epson AR Glasses for Virtual Remote Support

Epson Moverio smart glasses enable training and problem solving in the rubber manufacturing industry.

The SaarGummi Group is a leading supplier of rubber sealing to the automotive and construction industries. Founded in 1947 it has grown from its original location in Saarland, Germany into a global manufacturer operating in the North Americas, Brazil, Europe, Russia, India, Korea and China. With about 7,000 employees generating €635m in sales worldwide, SaarGummi (SG) specialises in innovative and sustainable rubber solutions such as sealings for vehicles and custom-fit products for architecture.

SaarGummi (SG) Neo, founded in 2016, is the innovation platform for the entire SG Group. It is a cross-divisional platform that encourages individual and team idea proposals to feed into the wider SG Group. It also fosters pilot projects in cooperation with universities and leading research institutes. One such project is the use of Epson Moverio smart glasses as ‘virtual remote control’ for training and step-by-step problem solving and to use augmented reality (AR) as a means of sharing knowledge and increasing productivity.

“Rubber is a unique and specific material. Most of the processes are manual ones and based on worker experience”, says Volker Schumacher, Innovation Manager at SG Neo.

“Specialists are rare. They are located in only a couple of areas worldwide. This means that if you have a problem or an issue you need to give them a call or they may have to travel, creating costs and delays”.

Less downtime in production

Sven Müller, Managing Director of SG Neo, explains how he and his team decided on Epson Moverio glasses as a means of quickly getting expertise to where it is needed, regardless of location. He says, “One of the ideas which we are promoting, and which was our pilot project, is the Epson glasses, which we enhanced with a sophisticated software and rolled out globally in our different plants and locations”.

Using the AR capabilities of the glasses to resolve problems, SG Neo can involve as many experts as needed no matter where in the world the individuals are located. In addition to saving staff time and travel costs, this provides another vital benefit for a manufacturing operation; the reduction of stoppage time in production.

Virtual assistant, standing by

“When equipped with Epson Moverio smart glasses, it’s really like a very helpful assistant standing by”, says Hua Rong, an Expert Operator at SG Neo. Mr. Rong gives an example of how he, as an expert, used the Epson glasses and their software application features to solve a problem in another location. A technician was struggling with a robotics programming issue. He put on the glasses and started up the live video communication. Using this feature, Mr. Rong could then see on his computer screen what the technician was seeing through his glasses. This allowed Mr. Rong to notice the problem immediately. Using other features; a screen freeze and a live mark-up function, he was able to show that the programming should be done horizontally and not vertically.

This intervention was certainly time and cost saving, yet according to Mr. Rong there was another, equally important benefit, that of job satisfaction. He says, “I was quite proud of myself at that time. I could help him by using the glasses”.

AR training and problem solving

SG Neo summarises how it is using Epson Moverio glasses, in combination with specially developed software, for innovation, “With the goal to offer product owners and specialists of the SG Group a global assistance tool”.

Intelligent AR.

Global real-time support from specialists. Problems are solved quickly, and with precision.

Cognitive AR.

The application is self-improving, via the generation of real-time staff training manuals.

Virtual remote support

The software ‘learns’ individual requirements as a support tool for new employees and cross checks their work steps.

Assisted worker training

Experimentation with regional training and implementation worldwide. The software simplifies cultural boundaries, since the visual medium is universal.

Streamlining

Ongoing exploration and evaluation of the AR capabilities by SG Neo to provide more dedicated support levels for the entire SG Group.

Hands-free communication

From the end user’s point of view, the glasses are easy to use and are improving the level of peer-to-peer engagement. Alexander Esch, SG Neo Field Technician says, “The glasses are very intuitive, and I can support my colleagues in China or in the US, and they can also support me. It’s a great way to increase my knowledge and it makes my job more efficient”.

From the expert operator’s point of view, Volker Schumacher says the glasses are, “wonderful” because he can see exactly what the machine part looks like, via the live video feed. Such things as changes to the set-up, missing parts and correct assembly can be quickly assessed and diagnosed. For him, the fact that the glasses are hands-free is a key benefit in SG’s environment of complex machinery,

“I was really pleased when I saw the potential to directly help people on site, and they could focus on the problem, with their eyes, their mind and their hands”.