Augmented reality in drives service of the future

(c) Samuli Pentti, Slush 2016

Through use of augmented reality customer operations and maintenance productivity could be improved

Last month ABB participated at the Slush startup and tech conference in Helsinki for the first time.

If you passed by our stand at Slush you probably noticed a large cabinet-built variable speed drive (VSD) as well. If not that, then probably the long queue of people waiting to try out Microsoft HoloLens demonstrating the benefits of augmented reality (AR) on the future of drives service.

By wearing the HoloLens, the person steps into maintenance engineer’s boots to replace a fan of the VSD, or variable frequency converter (VFD) which operated as a part of a wind turbine.

With augmented reality displayed by the HoloLens, or alternatively on a mobile device such as a tablet, real time performance values, easy spare part ordering and fan exchange work instructions are brought into the field of vision in an intuitive and prompt way.

Use of augmented reality could significantly improve customer operations and maintenance productivity. Especially maintenance personnel could benefit from this new technology enabling real-time troubleshooting and spare parts purchase actions with all relevant information and functions made available on site while field personnel are working on remote locations, such as wind turbines.

It was great to see that the augmented reality demonstration gained a lot of positive interest from Slush attendees visiting ABB stand, as well as from Microsoft too. A great deal of hype has been dwelling around AR but not that many use cases could be seen at Slush either. The technology clearly offers many possibilities for various kinds of industrial use of tomorrow and is slowly starting to take off.

Utilizing technologies such as AR and virtual reality (VR) is something we are also looking for through our ongoing IdeaHub Innovation Challenge, as we are seeking for new solutions and business models to transform the role of variable speed drives in an industrial setting.

Let’s write the future – today.

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About the author

Juho Vuorio

With background in various roles at a global crane manufacturing and service company and a tech startup, I joined ABB Drives in 2016 to lead a digitalization initiative. Digitalization is opening great opportunities where customers benefit from better productivity and yield while business models in equipment sales are getting closer to those of traditional software sales. This transformation requires new ways to think on how we innovate, build, deliver and measure value but also on the way we lead people.
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