Image: Sara Sette / Shutterstock
The coronavirus pandemic forced Italian energy company Enel to stop in-person quality control inspections, both at suppliers’ factories and sites of equipment installation.
These inspections needed to continue to protect the quality of facilities and prevent disruption to energy production. But how could they keep an eye on things without being there to see them? There was one innovative solution: augmented reality (AR) glasses worn by employees at suppliers’ factory instead.
A virtual reality check
In the space of a few months, Enel’s procurement team worked with their engineers to enable the use of a reality headsets. These allowed the wearer to broadcast what they are seeing anywhere in the world and meant real-time virtual inspections were now possible.
When being worn, supplier staff are instructed by Enel inspectors to show examples of production processes and quality control tests so Enel can be sure that everything is being handled correctly.
On-site inspections are supplemented by the use of other remote access tools such as a supervisory control and a data acquisition system, so that inspectors can carry out equipment performance tests remotely.
Does it work?
Not only do the AR glasses allow quality control to continue through difficult times and reduce costs and risk of travel, they also make it possible for Enel inspectors to conduct more inspections in a short amount of time. Having improved the efficiency of the process, Enel will continue using this technology even after the threat of the pandemic dissipates.
Showing exactly why businesses should accelerate digitalisation efforts in response to coronavirus, Enel have turned their new normal into an augmented reality indeed.
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