Thermoforming Equipment Supplier Expands Virtual Services

Manufacturer of thermoforming and packaging systems Illig (US office in Indianapolis) has expanded its customer service program with new virtual tools. Augmented reality (AR) devices and software solutions have been deployed to support customers remotely. Complementary visualization technologies allow the use of technical maintenance, machine health checks, as well as the execution of a variety of tests in the Illig Technology Center (ITC) in real time. Pandemic-related lockdowns and global travel restrictions have accelerated the acceptance of extensive remote technical customer support.

Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) and subsequent commissioning of the machine at the customer’s site are usually performed in the physical presence of Illig technicians and customer personnel. Illig has for years offered the possibility of carrying out these demanding and complex procedures online. Until now, the direct exchange was done via portable devices such as smartphones, tablets and high-end cameras in real time.

Photo credit: Illig

Virtual services extend and facilitate communication in the commissioning process and speed up the execution of related tasks. With AR technology, Illig has expanded its digital service offering with the help of Microsoft HoloLens2. These mixed reality glasses allow the user to display interactive 3D projections in the immediate environment. Adapted to Illig’s requirements, the glasses can be used, for example, for tests in the ITC with direct transmission to the customer. Customers can actively participate in real time from their location using Microsoft TEAMS via smartphone, tablet or PC. Other applications with this technology include FATs, customer training and live product presentations.

Additional options for accessible live communication for ad-hoc support include the use of the Inosoft i40 software portal at Illig. This web-based, real-time support enables quick and easy direct contact with the customer via moving images and sound without the customer having to install any special software.

Perry A. Thomasson