Factory acceptance via a video chat – how FAT and SAT are now working digitally
DIENST in Hofheim near Frankfurt is adapting to the digital age: Customers will be able to run SATs remotely in the future as well as digital FATs.
Home offices, remote working and video conferencing have quickly taken their place in our working world during the past 18 months. Images and sound – meetings rarely need anything else. It was not a concept for industry that could be used in the middle of the factory halls where functions have to be tested, settings made and hands-on work is needed. DIENST from Hofheim, has now made this possible for a customer in the Ukraine: a remote SAT.
"We have around 25 projects a year that must undergo one SAT and one FAT each," said Wolfgang Lapke, project manager at the packaging machine manufacturer. The testing takes a long time, often an entire working week. This is an important argument for using remote testing.
Software support via an industrial control system
This modern industrial control system allows DIENST technicians to access a machine online. This enables software to be easily updated and errors can also be found and eliminated. Communications occur via a video chat - the machine can be shown in action through the use of professional cameras. Specific stations and working steps can be focused on and any open questions can be discussed directly. Making spontaneous detailed shots of the machine from any angle is no problem and there is plenty of flexibility available for implementing this thanks to additional smartphone cameras.
Most of the systems supplied by DIENST are customized as hardly any of the machines are the same. The machine runs through all of its programs during a test and DIENST agrees upon the precise sequence separately with each customer. Time is needed for the many format changes. "These time windows are on-site dead time for the customer" said project manager Lapke. This is where the great benefit of video conferencing comes to the fore: The customer can devote himself to other tasks and topics whilst the machine is being reconfigured and this means that he loses less time. Traveling to and fro is no longer needed. "A remote SAT reliably covers the technical issues and today's video conferencing options ensure that the human component is not neglected either” explained the project manager.
FAT has proven itself in remote mode and the team now has a well-established process. Remote testing is already being regularly carried out with customers in the USA. There will probably be an increased demand for this in the future from customers here in Europe: Communication tools have experienced a real boom as a result of the pandemic, and many companies have not only got used to using them, but have also learned about the many benefits of video conferencing.
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