Augmenting reality for manufacturing success

Melissa Topp from ICONICS explains how a combination of new technologies can help businesses handle both remote operations and predictive maintenance

By Guest on 03 September 2018
Augmenting reality for manufacturing success

This article was originally published in the Summer 2018 issue of The Record. 

Industrial companies often struggle to find the right technology or application for handling remote operations and predictive maintenance effectively and efficiently. Microsoft partner and industrial automation software provider ICONICS has come up with the ideal solution: combining multiple new technologies together.

ICONICS has combined the cloud technology of its IoTWorX internet of things (IoT) software suite with the predictive maintenance capabilities of its Facility AnalytiX solution, the energy management functionalities of its Energy AnalytiX tools and its new holographic machine interface (HMI) augmented reality capabilities. This allows users to perform various tasks using a head-mounted, hands-free computing device such as a Microsoft HoloLens device.

In collaboration with Microsoft, ICONICS has displayed its new amalgamated software at SPS IPC Drives, Hannover Messe and its own Worldwide Customer Summit. Customers were able to see how the software can be used in various industrial applications to bring the possibilities of mobile, hands-free, cloud-enabled augmented reality to their companies.

One scenario ICONICS showed was how Microsoft HoloLens could be connected to ICONICS IoTWorx through Microsoft Azure to create a collaborative robot (cobot). Using a Microsoft HoloLens, customers were able to manage a cobot as it performed a simple task.

ICONICS also showcased how its fault detection and diagnostics software Facility AnalytiX and its advanced energy management software Energy AnalytiX can be used via the ICONICS IoTWorX cloud to allow technicians to perform maintenance tasks using a Microsoft HoloLens running ICONICS’ HMI software. The field service technician can wear a Microsoft HoloLens and use the solution to locate the machine that needs maintenance and call up superimposed schematics – such as a repair manual and a 3D representation of the machine – and associated augmented reality graphics to fix the problem.

In addition, ICONICS has developed features to combine these technologies. They include a remote mentor/expert mode where onsite maintenance technicians can use a Microsoft HoloLens to share their natural field of vision with a co-worker in another location. The co-worker could wear a heads-up display, or watch real-time video on a mobile device to provide immediate guidance.

The combination of IoT, analytics, holographic machine interfaces and mobile augmented reality technology has already delivered benefits for remote operations and predictive maintenance applications. ICONICS’ solutions will help more promising use cases to be piloted every day.

Melissa Topp is the senior director of global marketing at ICONICS


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