The virtual glance over the shoulder – support with AR

What do you have in mind when you hear the term Augmented Reality? My mind instantly comes up with people who wear glasses that resemble large black ski goggles and who point at things in the air that are not visible to an outsider. For the person wearing these glasses it is incredibly fascinating how you can dive into a new world and interact in it. But let’s face it: such monster glasses are not suitable for everyday use. And they don’t have to be, because there are now much sleeker solutions available.

At Krones, too, we rely on Augmented Reality – and not just now, but since 2018. The solution based on it at Krones bears the name Argos. This is a product within the scope of our LCS Support: with Argos Krones offers support via smart glasses. In terms of speed and independence of location, the classic remote support, which I had described here recently, already offers our clients many advantages – but with the addition of the AR application, even more is possible: thanks to live AR transmission, the Krones specialist is immediately in the middle of a client’s line, and can provide the operator with targeted support in troubleshooting and correcting faults. The major advantage of it is immediate assistance at the client’s machine through an audio-visual link to Krones – as if the expert were directly on site himself, but without having to travel. This enables production to be up and running again as quickly as possible, even in the current times of exit restrictions and contact bans. The user of the data glasses sees in his field of vision for example instructions or markings of errors, which the supporter shows him. In addition, the support specialist also has the option of issuing a visual alarm in dangerous situations.

The Argos basic package is available as part of a support contract and includes smart glasses and all necessary licenses. Moreover, the product is designed as an open system, which means that the beverage producer can link up with other suppliers besides Krones. Since its introduction, of course, we have always sought improvements for our customers, which is why it has recently become possible for them to use their own models (if already using smart glasses) or even tablets or mobile phones instead of the data glasses supplied by Krones. These innovations provide us with even better options for adapting to the client’s individual situation, and for flexibly integrating our support into the existing infrastructure at the client’s location.

Argos not only inspires us at Krones, but also our customers. At its Dorsten facility, Coca-Cola recognised the potential of using our data glasses as early as 2016 and have been working closely with us ever since. With Coca-Cola as our pilot customer, we were able to steadily improve the development of our Argos service, and to enhance it over the years. During the development period, the many advantages for our customers also became clear: quick and easy problem solving, higher system availability and increased performance – all with the help of Argos. Coca-Cola employees also accepted the new technology straight away, seeing the biggest advantages in the noticeable reduction of workload.

This film allows a first look through the smart glasses: