Swift help for the customer FANUC service relies on assisted reality
FANUC has more than 1600 employees in Europe, over 40 percent of whom work in service in order to provide “lifetime maintenance” or unlimited service on any FANUC product as long as customers want to use it. With this service network, the company achieves a record-breaking response time: "On average, less than 20 hours pass between a customer's call to the service hotline and the arrival of a FANUC service technician on site," reports Bruno Fritschi, Director Customer Service FANUC Europe. And as 99.98 percent of all spare parts are available throughout Europe, it takes less than 28 hours on average from the time the customer calls to the end of the repair, even for CNC or machines older than 20 years. An unrivalled value, which FANUC Europe aims to reduce to less than 24 hours in the medium term.
The new FANUC Assisted Reality (FAR) software should help. It is a digital service in the form of an app that works on the basis of augmented reality (AR). AR makes it possible to combine the real world with a layer of digital content. More specifically, with the help of FAR, two or more participants in a conversation can exchange images and videos via a secure data connection and add written annotations to them in real time. "This makes it easier to identify what the problem is and what spare parts and tools are needed as soon as the customer calls for the first time," explains Fritschi. FAR also helps during ongoing service calls: service technicians can use FAR to consult with colleagues and analyse errors together.
The use of FAR is only possible with the customer's consent. A special end-to-end encryption ensures exceptional security during data exchange. "In addition to data security, we placed great emphasis on the user-friendliness of FAR during development," says Fritschi. This includes the fact that the software also works in environments with a very low data transmission speed. FAR can be used everywhere in Europe. Even in European overseas territories, FAR has been used successfully. For example, a FANUC engineer from Paris used the digital service to assist a beverage manufacturer in New Caledonia, 16,000 kilometres away, with the repair of a FANUC robot. "We are all about providing the best possible service to all our customers to keep our products running at our customers’ factories," says Fritschi. "FAR is another building block in our offering for this." Now FANUC’s headquarters in Japan, as well as other global subsidiaries, are considering to use the FAR functionalities to further speed up support for customers worldwide.