Flatten the curve? How ramp-up management can be supported in going through the steepest possible curve

Customer Success | min. reading time

15th of April 2020

Martin Plutz Blog oculavis
Corona Epidemic Remote Support
In the course of the Corona Pandemic, a large number of industrial companies have completely shut down their production for a defined period of time. For most of these companies, this represents a new type of situation that is unlikely to be foreseen in their planning processes and structures. Disturbances during recommissioning and quality losses can be the consequence for the phase of restarting production. Such efficiency losses generally manifest themselves in a flatter and more volatile ramp-up curve (red line in the figure below). These curves typically describe production volumes or quality indicators over the ramp-up period.

A restart of the operative processes in production, assembly and quality assurance requires good planning and detailed coordination of all resources involved, such as machinery and equipment, employees, suppliers and know-how. To ensure a fast ramp-up phase of the value-adding processes in manufacturing companies, the orchestration and fine-tuning of above mentioned production resources play a crucial role. In addition to good planning, communication between people involved in the ramp-up management process is a important success factor. Augmented Reality based communication solutions can be used here not only to support planned activities in the production ramp-up phase on the spot, but also to enable ad-hoc communication from the shop floor to the office floor - whenever this is needed. And Augmented Reality based communication tools do not make a difference whether a production site in Asia, America or Europe is involved.

The applications of Augmented Reality tools in the entire ramp-up process are manifold and can provide significant added value to accelerate the ramp-up of operational processes. The following applications, among others, are worth considering:
  • Structured documentation of commissioning and quality gates during production ramp-ups with screenshots, videos and all necessary management parameters
  • Create transparency about which machines and plants have been released and validated through the integrated asset relationship management in oculavis SHARE
  • Creation of standardized step-by-step instructions for set-up procedures directly in the process with the new workflow module of oculavis
  • Support of shop floor operators with technical issues regarding production equipment and processes via Augmented Reality based video calls
  • Integration of suppliers into the ramp-up process for diagnosis and elimination of possible system failures by inviting external users

The applications described offer the possibility to accelerate re-start processes after a production shutdown in order to get closer to the ideal ramp-up curve that is shown in the following figure.

To support industrial companies in this, oculavis GmbH currently offers the remote service and maintenance solution oculavis SHARE free of charge for 6 weeks.

However, even after the steepest possible start-up curve has been passed, the technologies outlined above offer the opportunity to supplement the digitization of production with the possibility of permanently supporting operative processes in manufacturing, assembly and quality assurance with Augmented Reality-based remote support and workflows. But not only that. Especially for companies in the machine manufacturing sector, there are further areas of application, especially in customer service, which are becoming more visible than ever before due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions. Thus, planned processes such as acceptance testing, commissioning, training and maintenance can be carried out remotely throughout the entire life cycle of a machine. Even unplanned breakdowns can be diagnosed remotely and ideally eliminated from the office or home office without sending a service technician on a trip!

The corona crisis will change organisational and communication structures in the manufacturing industry in the long term. For all of us, video calls from the home office have become an everyday matter of course. Augmented Reality based solutions offer a very high potential to open up these communication channels for production employees and to maintain the connection between home office and shop floor during the corona crisis and to make it more efficient for the time afterward. The use in ramp-up management is only a first obvious use case, with which manufacturing companies can start their way into the digitally networked future!

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