JJ-Lurgi taps on augmented reality wearable to provide real-time remote assistance from Malaysia to regional and global customers
JJ-Lurgi, the life sciences joint venture of diversified industrial conglomerate, Jebsen & Jessen Group, has introduced the integration of ThinkReality A6, an Augmented Reality (AR) head-mounted display developed by Lenovo and powered by Artasi technology, into its existing site services portfolio. The innovative AR technology will enable Malaysia-headquartered JJ-Lurgi to more efficiently address client needs in the edible oils, fats, oleochemicals and biofuels industries amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, providing remote support, expertise and assistance from Malaysia without being physically present on site.
The oils and fats industry remains a significant sector in the economies of many South East Asian countries, with revenue amounting to US$8.641bn in 2021 and expected to grow by 3.2% annually. Malaysia alone is one of the world’s largest oils and fats producers and exporters, accounting for 9.1% and 19.7% of the world’s total production and exports of oils and fats in 2020.
Across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges affecting industries and economies. Challenges such as mounting health concerns, as well as extensive lockdowns and border control measures, hinder the ability of many businesses to provide or receive vital on-site support for maintenance and troubleshooting. JJ-Lurgi’s integration of the ThinkReality A6 headset with Artasi’s technology enables their regional and global clients to remotely and safely access expertise from the company’s headquarters in Malaysia despite the constraints, keeping vital sectors in the global trade running during this time.
“Amid challenges in this new normal, we remain forward-looking and ready to embrace new and innovative technology that enables us to continue providing the best value and support for our clients even in challenging circumstances. The recent adoption of AR technology in our services portfolio has greatly improved our efficiency and productivity in providing accelerated assistance to local, regional and global customers, leading to minimal disruption and downtimes,” said Jakob Helms, chief executive officer of JJ-Lurgi.
Typically, whenever businesses such as industrial factories or manufacturers encounter issues with their plant or equipment, engineers would need to be promptly dispatched to the location for on-site assistance. In these cases, issues and faults can even lead to a halt in production and output, causing considerable downtime and losses if not resolved quickly.
With the ThinkReality A6 headset and the Artasi Application, clients’ on-site operators who face issues or require assistance will be able to receive immediate assistance from the technical team at JJ-Lurgi. Instantly sharing on-site audio and video with the technical team at JJ-Lurgi, the experts, from their headquarters in Malaysia, will be able to provide the operators with specific instructions and solutions using voice commands, pictures, documents and even videos relayed to the headset in real-time. Regardless of whether the client is based abroad, or even with the presence of travel restrictions or local movement control orders, the impact on business operations caused by lengthy downtimes can now be avoided as troubleshooting and resolving of issues can be performed expeditiously.
“Designed specifically for enterprise users, the ThinkReality A6 with the Artasi application has been successfully deployed in several industrial sectors to help on-site engineers and technicians access information and assistance remotely while performing their tasks. Harnessing disruptive technology in their workflow, JJ-Lurgi has evolved their existing workplace tools to increase operational efficiency, especially in the face of challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Gildas Coldeboeuf, global chief executive officer of Artasi.
In its maiden deployment at an oleochemical site in Sumatra, Indonesia, the AR headset and software enabled several engineering personnel to investigate, troubleshoot and develop a remedy in just 45 minutes following the client’s call for assistance. Traditionally, the lead time for this would take five to seven working days: An engineer would be deployed and required to spend several days on site conducting the evaluation, followed by consultations with various engineering heads back at the headquarters and report generation before a remedy is provided to the client.
In addition to being able to assist clients more efficiently, the process is now much more cost effective and increases a site’s productivity by reducing valuable downtime. Besides performing remote troubleshooting at their existing plant and equipment, this has also enabled JJ-Lurgi’s experts to assist these long-term customers in various other capacities, including a viability assessment for the start-up of a partially completed oleochemicals production complex and the pre-commissioning of a glycerine distillation plant.
While the new AR technology is currently deployed in the South East Asian region, it is expected to be rolled out to clients on a global scale subsequently.
This initiative is part of JJ-Lurgi’s bigger plan to adopt innovative technologies and be at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). Partnering with Artasi, JJ-Lurgi is exploring ways to integrate 3D plant models with AR and virtual reality (VR) to enable VR reviewing of yet unbuilt processing plants; VR safety and operability reviews of plants being designed; as well as AR workflow assistance for specialised and complicated technology deployed at the plants.
JJ-Lurgi is also preparing to digitalise engineering processes to increase accuracy, efficiency and customisation. In the near future, JJ-Lurgi will also operate on an interconnected platform, where central data management and intelligent editing will allow for better consistency and agility to meet ever-changing global demands.