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Wearables on the factory floor: the new ‘working normal’

Keith Tilley, CEO of Intoware, explains how the pandemic is accelerating the push towards digitisation and wearables as part of the new ‘working normal’.

As we are all adopting video conferencing in the office as the new ‘working normal’, on the factory floor increasing digitisation and wearable tech featuring augmented (AR) reality are helping to streamline everything from machinery inspections to avoiding bottlenecks on the assembly line.

This is achieved by allowing a remote worker to see the physical world in video and annotate physical objects, using a mobile (Android and IOS), tablet or head mounted device. It enables the worker to capture every step of a production process by creating instructions for others to follow, from a manufacturing plant here or on the other side of the world.

Covid-19 has accelerated the push towards the new ‘working normal’ as businesses look to optimise productivity, cost savings and increase remote working to ensure staff safety.

Knowledge capture is the ‘game-changer’

WorkfloPlus developed by Intoware is a workflow automation platform using mobile and AR technology from our partner Realwear which aims to digitise audit, compliance and manufacturing processes. As by switching to digital instructions manufacturers can build a huge bank of data for machine audits and they can also predict when failures in manufacturing or assembly processes may occur.

It is the capture and utilisation of this knowledge that is a real ‘game-changer’. By providing real-time data and analytics, WorkfloPlus is delivering new insights that will ensure greater productivity, reduced costs and drive further innovation.

Automating compliance

For manufacturers, regulatory compliance is an essential part of plant works – from machine monitoring to quality control and the need to satisfy health and safety requirements. When these processes are carried out manually there is the risk that mistakes can be made, or employees may simply forget to complete specific tasks.

WorkfloPlus ensures better compliance by providing a thorough audit trail of ‘who, what, where and when’, by cataloguing every decision point and action in manufacturing operations so there are fewer errors and at the same time it enables improved productivity. But what happens if the manufacturing landscape were to quickly change?

A single source of truth

The speed of change is rapid too, a change to the business process is sent by WorkfloPlus to all users instantly, providing a “single source of truth”, it’s not sent as a paper trail, so everyone is working off the same version. This means it’s easier to schedule downtime and manage production demands as things change. But if you’re relying on spreadsheets or written notes, this change could take many days or even weeks.

 Bayer Pharmaceutical

A manufacturer that is taking advantage of Intoware’s innovative technology is Bayer Pharmaceutical. It has recently tested and is now deploying WorkfloPlus with Realwear HMT-1 headsets to help manage its production change over process, in what is a highly regulated market.

As drug manufacturing requires regular cleaning and change overs between each batch, by using WorkfloPlus it allows this procedure to be taken in a constant and timely manner, to help minimise any “down-time” for greater cost efficiency, while at the same time it provides a thorough audit check that a manual ‘tick-list’ could never deliver.

This is just one example of how ‘disruptive’ technologies are creating a safer, more connected ‘working-normal’ to achieve greater operational visibility, productivity and cost savings. Isn’t it time to fall in love with what the tech can do for you, not just the tech itself?

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Technology Reseller Magazine & Site is Published by Kingswood Media 2022