Data glasses in maintenance – RISE and the HMT-1Z1 in use at XERVON Instandhaltung

As a partner of RISE Technologies, XERVON Instandhaltung GmbH decided to use our explosion-proof HMT-1Z1. Steven Brenner, Head of Maintenance Engineering at XERVON Instandhaltung, was responsible for a two-week practical pilot project in which the Smart Glass proved its worth.

XERVON Instandhaltung offers professional solutions for all aspects of the maintenance, servicing and repair of complex production plants as well as plant components. The company is one of the leading technical providers in the sector and is constantly working on finding additional time and cost benefits for its customers. An important starting point is the integration of new technologies into the service portfolio.

In the field of smart glass, XERVON Instandhaltung has been cooperating with RISE Technologies GmbH since the beginning of 2018. The aim is for XERVON employees to use both the HMT-1 and the explosion-proof HMT-1Z1, the world’s first completely hands-free “head-mounted tablet” for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, when carrying out maintenance work in the future.

Testing under practical conditions

Steven Brenner is the head of the Maintenance Engineering department at XERVON Instandhaltung and specialises in condition monitoring, i.e. condition-based maintenance to prevent unplanned machine downtimes and to ensure that maintenance work is optimally controlled. Together with two members of staff, he tested the HMT-1Z1 at the Cologne site. The main aim was to integrate the Smart Glass into XERVON’s daily work routine and to find out to what extent work steps can be accelerated, employees can be supported remotely and challenges can be overcome more effectively.

Remote experts

The specialists at XERVON Instandhaltung are out and about in customers’ factories every day, making sure that the machine technology there and the existing plants are running smoothly. During this process, there are service cases that make it necessary for the respective employee to contact a colleague who is an expert. “We hoped for a connection from the data glasses that would also work in explosion-protected areas without any problems. Although he is not on site himself, the expert should see exactly the same things on his PC screen, laptop or smartphone as our employee in the factory”., says Steven Brenner.

In practical use, suitable test cases for testing the smart glasses were quickly found. If a situation arose in which special knowledge was required, the service employee deployed in the work environment established a connection to the expert colleague via the data glasses attached to his safety helmet. In this way, both could communicate via conference call, exchange case-related information and find a quick solution together without the need for another employee to be on site. For Steven Brenner, one thing is certain:

Communication via audio and video stream eliminates the need for specially convened meetings, including the time-consuming distances involved. Processes can be accelerated enormously as a result.

Steven Brenner

From XERVON’s point of view, optimised communication and the direct sharing of information in time-critical business are significant advantages of using smart glass. As well as internal coordination and the coordination of all those involved, the company is also thinking about the possibility of involving contacts on the customer side who may not be working at the plant in question but, for example, at the client’s main site.

Plus points for documentation and knowledge management

Another advantage is the improved documentation. The camera attached to the HMT-1Z1 allows live video transmissions as well as the creation of images. The snapshot function was found to be particularly helpful here. Steven Brenner: “If an employee notices something, he can save it not only by audio recording but also by photo and then store it digitally. This gradually creates a knowledge database. The findings on individual service cases can thus be retrieved at any time, are available to other colleagues and can be used for similar situations.” In addition, communication with the customer also benefits here, because by documenting the audio recordings and photos, the client can be informed even better about the conditions found and the services provided.

Easy to learn, quick to use

The HMT-1Z1, which is equipped with numerous functions, has convinced many people with its technical qualities in an industrial environment. Steven Brenner sees a particular strength in the fast recording of commands with which the Smart Glass is operated by voice input. The possible voice commands are shown directly on the integrated display of the RISE Remote Support App, which enables the user to learn how to operate the device intuitively and quickly. The XERVON employees who tested the app found it very easy to use the Remote Support platform. It only took a short period of time to get used to the data glasses and they were able to integrate them into their daily work routine without any problems. The audio communication functioned perfectly at all times, even in a very noisy environment.

Last but not least, the HMT-1Z1 and the use of the RISE Remote Support Platform also proved their worth during the test phase when faced with minor adversities in daily practice. “Despite comprehensive signposting, for example, it can be difficult for an outsider to find his way around the often large-scale and intricate plant complexes straight away. If an employee is on duty who does not yet know the way exactly, an experienced colleague can navigate him directly and without unnecessary detours to the facilities to be inspected,” Steven Brenner explains.

Conclusion: From piloting to rollout

The Head of Maintenance Engineering is convinced of the potential of the HMT-1Z1 and sees it being used at XERVON particularly in maintenance and large-scale projects such as refinery turnarounds: “Here, the smart glasses can effectively simplify the processes, which saves valuable time. The integrated translator function of the data glasses, which translates descriptions into nine different languages, should also provide additional added value. For the internationally active XERVON Instandhaltung GmbH, this is an important argument.

We look forward to continuing to work with XERVON Instandhaltung.