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Remote Services: the real value of a packaging machine

The act of purchasing a packaging machine usually takes into account a few crucial factors: FAT, Installation & SAT and Assistance.

The FAT, short for factory acceptance test, is a series of examinations carried out at the vendor factory site before shipping the machine. The test consists in checking if the machine works properly with the product and reels sent by the client, showing the performance in production. If the machine passes the test, it's time for the Installation, where technicians install the machine directly in the production line based on the layout sent by the client. The SAT, i.e. site acceptance test, is the final step before closing the deal. It validates that the control and safety systems are fully operational and is done at the worksite of the customer. Last but not least, Assistance refers to all activities put in place by the machine vendor to provide 360 degree support to the customer. It is often viewed as one of the most important parts in the decision-making behind the purchase of a customer machine.

Until COVID-19, all these services have always been performed in person. But recently, also in response to the new market needs emerging with the pandemic and shelter-in-place orders, the packaging machine industry has been registering a huge innovation in the direction of remote services. What before was only possible on site can now be executed remotely thanks to Augmented Reality and Industry 4.0, saving time and money. Indeed, ACMA offers different tools to connect to the customer and the machines in various ways and is therefore able to accommodate the widest range of customer's needs.

What’s more, ACMA’s Remote Services save the environment from reckless pollution, avoiding the cost of travel - which, in turn, makes Remote Services even less expensive than in-person ones. In addition, Remote Services extend the lifetime of the machine, significantly lowering its carbon footprint.

Remote services: why value-added services are central to packaging machines

Since the start of the pandemic, ACMA, always on top of trends, has been providing to its customers several value-added services:

  • Remote FAT
  • Remote Installation and Remote SAT
  • Remote Services
  • Remote Assistance

The following is a description of these services.

Remote FAT

The Remote FAT is a new alternative to the standard factory acceptance test. It guarantees FATs' continuity of operations, allowing for ACMA to carry out the test remotely via live streaming. Thanks to new technologies, the Remote FAT lets the customer seamlessly explore the machine in its entirety while also enabling detailed views. The whole process is very straightforward: ACMA connects with the customer through mobile apps or video live streaming tools and the two parties can share videos and images. In this way, the customer can see the machine in action through cameras pointed at the machine. Most importantly, he can freely interact with ACMA's dedicated team. In addition, if requested, the full FAT session can be recorded and sent to the customer.

All in all, Remote FATs are a powerful tool that accelerates factory acceptance tests, shortens the time to market and increases cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction.

Remote Installation and Remote SAT

Remote Installation and Remote SAT are two new services developed by ACMA at the start of the corona crisis to fill emerging market needs. They can be applied both to new machines as well as in the form of upgrades and kits for machines already owned by the customer.

Thanks to video and images from the customer's worksite, live calls or chats with ACMA’s technical staff and the use of ARA device to assess the machine net through internet connection, ACMA can support site acceptance tests remotely, providing verbal instructions for local technicians who are in front of the machine.

Remote Installation is one of the production support services provided by ACMA. After the Installation process is completed, ACMA's technicians verify that the newly installed equipment runs at peak efficiency and stays that way. It is important to consider that most of ACMA’s machines are tailor-built for the customer - in other words, they are unique.  Because of this, the Remote Installation requires care and attention to detail to be completed and it is fundamental for the client to communicate continuously to assess the progress of the Installation.”  

At date, ACMA's Remote Installation and Remote SAT are employed in several industries. One recent interesting case study was that of an Australian customer. In this case, ACMA provided a replacement package to fix the electrical obsolescence of the client's machinery and executed the Installation of a PLC on the client’s equipment. After a couple of weeks of coordination to be ready for the set-up, the entire installation process took just eight days.

Remote Services

Remote Services refer to all services that ACMA provides to support machine upgrades or installation kits that can be applied to all kinds of machines, however old they might be. Remote Services also concern the support for ordinary maintenance of the machine, including video tutorials for training.

Remote Assistance

Remote Assistance provides incredible value to the customer, in that it makes available ACMA expert technicians at a moment's notice, ensuring a very short response time. This service requires the direct engagement of the customer’s technicians that are always in touch with ACMA for any necessity

In this context, it is worth mentioning the case of an Indian manufacturing company. In this example, the customer needed to reactivate an old machine which had fallen into disuse for many years. Thanks to the collaboration of the client's team on-site, ACMA was able to connect to the machine remotely and run a performance analysis of the equipment. Then, ACMA sent the customer a report on the state of the machine, highlighting the root of the problem (which was both hardware and software in nature) and the necessary actions to fix it. Once the hardware was restored, ACMA's technicians connected to the machine remotely and executed the installation of the new software, rebooted the machine and tested it with the whole line in production. Finally, the machine was ready for production.

Compared to on-site support, Remote Assistance is much faster. In one case, for instance, a UK customer had a filling machine that suddenly stopped working. The client got in touch with the customer care, and in less than two hours ACMA's technical experts were able to conduct a full remote analysis, both mechanical and electrical, and quickly identify the root of the problem. Thanks to the coordinated action of ACMA's team and two members of the customer's workforce, the machine was fully operational in just a few hours.

Saving time and money with ACMA's Remote Services

Remote Services are an example of disruptive innovation in packaging. Most of the time, the source of the problem is due to some sort of software bug. That's the true value of Remote Services: what once required changing the machine, now it might be just a software patch away.

Remote Services also save money by enabling a quicker and more seamless solution to the trouble at hand. Because of this, they are instrumental to avoid future machine downtime and increase productivity.

Are you looking for a partner to rely on - one that can support you with a plethora of state-of-the-art remote services? Look no further: contact us.

 

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