Kola MMC is utilising augmented reality in its production processes

The company has successfully tested the concept of "Remote Expert" using augmented reality (AR) glasses.

The solution is based on the domestic software platform IKSAR in combination with industrial-grade AR glasses from various manufacturers.

This innovative digital solution connects geographically dispersed participants in the production process. Highly skilled experts, situated at computers with large monitors, assist on-site employees in real-time.

In augmented reality, employees wearing AR glasses receive instructions and guidance on necessary equipment manipulations.

The remote expert essentially sees all real-time technological operations from a first-person perspective.

If needed, it is possible to freeze the image on specific work areas, allowing experts to closely examine a particular fragment and relieving the employee from the need to stand in front of a certain node or unit for an extended period.

All such sessions are connected through group video conferencing, involving all interested parties.

Remote experts can upload additional diagrams, drawings, and demonstrate their computer screens to employees through the AR glasses' display, facilitating effective remote interaction and enabling the quick resolution of various production tasks.

One experienced expert can accompany technological processes in real-time at different locations by connecting multiple employees wearing AR glasses.

All video sessions are recorded, tied to equipment, participants, time intervals, and other characteristics, forming the company's database of technological knowledge across various types of equipment operations. This information is stored in a structured digital format in IKSAR and can be used for training new employees or analysing solutions to new problems based on past experiences.

Industrial-grade AR glasses, equipped with active noise cancellation, ensure excellent audio clarity and flawless voice control.

Kola MMC is exploring both monocular and binocular AR glasses, as IKSAR is compatible with leading models from various equipment manufacturers.

The company acknowledges the high technological readiness of the domestic IKSAR software. The preparation for testing the new digital solution on the production site in Monchegorsk, Murmansk Oblast, took no more than three weeks, and training employees on the new software posed no difficulties for the production staff.

Based on the trial results, experts highlighted the potential for reducing repair durations and increasing response speed to incidents. The solution can enhance the quality of work performed and gradually increase the expertise of employees by providing specialised knowledge from more experienced personnel.

As part of the development of augmented reality technologies, Kola MMC is considering the use of the "Digital Operations" module in IKSAR to establish a system for bypasses, inspections, quality control, and maintenance of specialised equipment. This would expand the range of scenarios for remote interaction among various company employees.

The "Digital Operations" module enables employees to receive step-by-step graphical instructions in both online and offline modes according to the technological process regulations. During the work, they can read labels, fill in checklists, input measurement parameters, and capture photos and videos of both operations and incidents.

Essentially, this allows for the creation of a comprehensive, objective digital footprint of production operations, aiding employees and the company in enhancing transparency, reliability of equipment and machinery operation, and reducing the likelihood of forced downtime.

In 2024, Kola MMC plans to thoroughly explore the new capabilities of IKSAR in the field of machine vision and artificial intelligence for object recognition, defect identification, and other tasks that can be addressed using AR glasses.