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Sibur and G-Core Labs launch universal augmented-reality service for remote maintenance

| By Mary Bailey

Sibur (Moscow, Russia) & G-Core Labs S.A. (Luxembourg) have launched a universal augmented reality (AR) service for the remote maintenance and repair of industrial equipment.

Sibur has launched the universal AR service for remotely maintaining and repairing industrial equipment, which will help save millions of dollars per year. Based on a unique IT platform of their own design, the service will replace face-to-face visits of service company specialists and internal holding experts with video consultations using augmented reality glasses. This project was implemented in partnership with G-Core Labs, an international provider of cloud and edge solutions.

Source: G-Core Labs

Sibur specialists first tested remote servicing technology with the help of AR glasses in 2018 by using several solutions available on the market. That’s when basic scenarios for applying such technology were identified and the economic effect of its implementation was predicted. Once they were sure that such a project was feasible and implementable from a technical standpoint, the specialists began preparations for implementation at holding enterprises, which included the development of their own IT platform. Sibur production facilities in the city of Tobolsk became the testing grounds.

“Our AR service is easy to use and includes two large key components: RealWear and Epson augmented reality glasses with pre-installed Android applications developed in collaboration with G-Core Labs and integrated with SIBUR’s own mobile media platform. This platform allows you to fully digitize the entire maintenance and repair process by organizing HD broadcasts in WebRTC format and creating a full-fledged communication platform for effective on-site specialist interactions with a remote expert. Everything is voice-controlled, freeing the hands of the person to work with the equipment,” says Alexander Leus, Head of SIBUR Industry 4.0 practice.

A representative of the industrial equipment supplier or Sibur internal expert stays in contact with the factory specialist. The expert simply receives a link to their personal email and starts a video conference in any browser (Chrome, Edge, Mozilla, Safari, etc.) on any device, including tablets and smartphones, upon identity verification using their mobile phone number. They don’t need to install any special applications.

“With the help of a virtual pointer displayed on the glasses micro-display, an employee of the equipment supplier company can direct the actions of the specialist, draw attention to certain elements, and indicate what to turn and where to monitor. A chat and stickers were implemented into the functionality of the AR platform as well. Stickers are needed, for example, if there are connection issues. In that case, the remote expert sends signal stickers, such as a “checkmark” sticker if everything is done correctly or a “stop” sticker if you need to stop what you’re doing”, – explains Dmitry Samoshkin, VP of Products at G-Core Labs.

The main features that distinguish the SIBUR solution from its analogues on the market are the depth of its integration into real production tasks and enterprise processes, the comprehensive digitalization of the repair process, and versatility allowing it to be deployed to a wide variety of production sites.

The Sibur solution offers a full-fledged role model focused on business customers, such as production managers, site managers, mechanics, heads of customer technical control services, and so on. The AR service has a ticket system, which means that not only video communication is possible, but also the complete digitization of the remote consulting business process. With the ticket system, the customer is guided along the entire path towards resolving the issue, from checking the presence of all necessary information to assessing the cost of work, the necessary competencies, and the qualifications of external or internal experts. Information security is ensured and unequivocal answers are given to questions of who, at what time, and from whom the glasses are taken, how the system is supported, and how exactly the interaction takes place until the maintenance or repair is successfully completed. At this moment, more than 300 business cases of the AR service have been documented by the Sibur team.