Monday, April 22, 2013

MRO Goes Mobile and Robotic

Scientists from IBM revealed a mobile maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) prototype which is designed to help organisations maintain high-value machinery in sectors such as aerospace, oil and gas and shipping. Using a combination of augmented reality and robotics, the mobile system will help field engineers accurately locate equipment, provide them with critical information and receive real-time visual support from supervising experts based remotely.

The new system allows a supervisor to monitor an engineer's progress towards the maintenance site, using GPS. Once on site, an engineer can use a smart phone and QR codes to locate and identify an asset and receive maintenance instructions. The smart phone uses augmented reality technology to overlay points of interest over a plan of the site, which can include the location of other engineers, first aid stations and health and safety apparatus.

Dr Rab Scott, Head of the Virtual Reality and Modelling Group AMRC, said: “IBM's MRO prototype is an exciting addition to the innovative toolset used by the AMRC’s researchers and engineers. We hope to demonstrate its usefulness and versatility in a number of situations within the manufacturing arena.”

The manufacturing sector is generally considered to be a key sector to help drive jobs and growth, within which MRO accounts for typically 20%. IBM has brought together technologies developed in its research labs across the world into a single solution that can help manufacturers reduce operational costs and stay competitive.

Full disclosure, I work for IBM, but this is pretty cool.

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