JMACS reduces downtime with Epson smart headset

The Moverio Pro BT-2000 helped cut losses by a third

JMACS reduces downtime with Epson smart headset

By allowing remote monitoring by supervisors, Epson's Moverio smart eyewear has allowed one manufacturing company to slash losses from defective products by a third.

Does augmented reality save money? It has for JMACS, a manufacturer of electric wiring and cabling in Japan, which is using the Moverio Pro BT-2000 industrial smart headset to allow supervisors 24/7 remote monitoring of faulty machinery. In doing so the company has reduced downtime on its production lines so dramatically that once problematic losses from defective products have been reduced by a third.

Moverio can save money

In fast-paced and highly competitive manufacturing industries, the role of the supervisor in a factory is critical to prevent machine downtime from affecting the business. "When the machinery has trouble, or there are issues with the machinery producing defective products, the production line stops," says Mr. Masahiro Matsumoto at JMACS, who adds that unless the team can recover the situation quickly, production costs can spiral out of control and the company can fail to meet delivery deadlines. For a company that creates products often on short runs and at very short notice, that's a huge problem. "When the skilled supervisors were at a remote location, we had issues with the recovery time of machinery," adds Mr. Matsumoto, who calculated that the total production downtime over a year was as much as 60 hours. This was costing JMACS about ¥15 million (£112,000/€132,000) per year.

Moverio allows remote monitoring

To solve the problem of skilled supervisors not always being on the factory floor to fix machinery – particularly during the nightshift –JMACS turned to the Moverio Pro BT-2000 industrial smart headset. The company's goal was to use this augmented reality device to create a remote monitoring service so that supervisors could see the machinery from afar, diagnose the issue, and give advice to colleagues on how to fix the problem. All without stepping foot on the factory floor. "If we can recover right after the stoppage, we can reduce lost time by 50 per cent," says Mr. Matsumoto. That's exactly what is now happening at JMACS.

Moverio offers hands-free working

Since most of the problems with JMACS' machinery can be fixed within five minutes, you might think a smartphone or tablet would be just as effective as smart eyewear. However, the Moverio Pro BT-2000 has some unique characteristics that make it perfect for remote support systems in industrial environments. It's one of the few products of its type that offers binocular vision, which means accurate depth perception. Also, the wearer can overlay data onto reality, with the transparent display allowing them to also see what's in front of them. As well as putting a hands-free instruction manual into the field of vision of an on-site engineer, a supervisor in a remote location can see exactly what is in front of that engineer. Since the Moverio Pro BT-2000 also allows two-way communications, a remote support system is created.

Moverio gives detailed views

"Since we can now confirm the problem and even read the display on the machine from a remote place, the supervisor can offer support without actually going to the working site," says Mr. Matsumoto. In practice, the Moverio Pro BT-2000 has worked even better than expected, with its binocular vision allowing remote supervisors to look at defective products in much more detail than JMACS expected. It even proved possible for remote supervisors to analyse the thickness of resin on wire, which is critical to producing a product that doesn't suffer from too much interference. Since this problem often occurs at the beginning of the production process and can ruin an entire batch, JMACS' new ability to monitor standards from afar has enabled the company to massively reduce human error.

Moverio is a superb teaching tool

It's also helping the company with training, with the Moverio Pro BT-2000's video output quickly revealing the differences between skilled and unskilled workers. Supervisors can see on a PC monitor exactly what that member of staff is looking at, which is proving a great teaching and assessment tool.

Moverio has industrial-grade features

When it comes to industrial environments, the BT-2000 has three major advantages over rival products. "Its high-resolution camera creates a really clear image, so much so that you can read written characters at work sites on its high brightness display," says Mr. Seiichi Urai at JMACS. He praises the Moverio Pro BT-2000's flip-up lenses, and the fact that they can be worn by wearers of regular glasses, while its durable touchpad controller, which can be operated while wearing gloves, also meets with his approval.

Moverio can create new revenue streams

Such has been the success of implementing the Moverio Pro BT-2000 across its own factory that JMACS is now planning to provide remote monitoring services to its customers' factories that handle JMACS' wiring and cabling. Not only will the JMACS factory become a model for this expansion of the business, but JMACS even expects to use a fleet of Moverio Pro BT-2000 headsets to launch a factory overseas, which should drastically cut down on expensive business trips.

More proof, if it was needed, that augmented reality through the versatile Moverio Pro BT-2000 is all about boosting efficiency and saving money.