smartAssist overcomes borders
Digital service enables machine approvals over a distance of hundreds of kilometers

Due to the Corona pandemic, many borders remained closed this year. Machine approval tests were nevertheless successfully carried out at KraussMaffei thanks to the new smartAssist function.

Text Katharina Knaut  Photos KraussMaffei, Nolato

Machine approvals are actually part of everyday production. As soon as the machine was built, customers came to the production site and, together with a KraussMaffei expert, checked the machine's processes and functions. However, the Corona pandemic turned this routine into a challenge: travel restrictions made it difficult or impossible for business partners to be present in person.

Nevertheless, even international customers were able to take a thorough look at their new machines - without having to leave their location: KraussMaffei has created a way of carrying out approvals without having to be at the KraussMaffei plant or even in the same country.

Machine approval via tablet and smartphone

This is made possible by the digital service smartAssist. This arranges an audio and video link that enables customers to communicate with KraussMaffei experts. Up to now, the service has mainly provided remote support, for example if a machine malfunctions.

In a new feature smartAssist now extends its service to virtual machine approvals: A KraussMaffei employee uses a smartphone, tablet or smart glasses to film the individual areas of a machine via smartAssist. These images are transmitted live to the customer's end device, who can then inspect the machine. Since there is an audio connection in addition to the video connection, the customer can ask questions or express wishes during the process about which details on the machine or which functions he wants to see. "It's an interactive process“, explains Stefan Feldmeier, Product Owner Digital and Service Solutions at KraussMaffei.

Full perspective:
Full perspective:
Olaf Diekmann performs a machine approval via smartAssist

During approval, high-resolution photos can also be recorded, documenting the process in the subsequently created case report. The report also contains documents and data that show, for example, how stable the processes on the machine were. 

In principle, smartAssist is available to every customer. The service can be used both via the associated app and via the browser. All that is required is an Internet connection, the relevant access data and an appointment.

Continuous run

Olaf Dieckmann, Project Manager KraussMaffei Technologies, carried out one of the digital machine approvals that have already taken place via smartAssist. For him it was the first acceptance test of its kind. "In the beginning it was a changeover. Normally, you are personally in contact," he explains. "But you get used to it quickly. Everything worked without any problems.“ Dieckmann walked around the machine for one and a half hours (exactly one hour, 33 minutes and 19 seconds according to the protocol) while filming the dry run and individual details.

András Széles
András Széles
Engineering Manager Moulding & Tooling at Nolato Hungary

These images appeared simultaneously on the computer of András Széles, Engineering Manager Moulding & Tooling at Nolato Hungary, at whose site in Mosonmagyaróvár the machine will be located in the future. Nolato Hungary is one of the Hungarian sites of the Nolato Group, which specializes in medical solutions, integrated solutions and industrial solutions. In Mosonmagyaróvár, among other things, the technology for the production of a new product is prepared and finally built.

András Széles is very satisfied with the virtual acceptance test via smartAssist: "The connection was stable, and we were able to perform the acceptance test without interruption." He will definitely use the service again for this, he explains: "Especially with the travel restrictions currently in place, it's the easiest way to perform machine acceptance tests." 

"The customers see, hear and experience what our expert also perceives on site."
Stefan Feldmeier, Product Owner Digital and Service Solutions at KraussMaffei

"With smartAssist, the customer no longer has to be on site," emphasizes Stefan Feldmeier. This is not only an advantage in times of Corona: By eliminating the need for travel and overnight stays, a customer can also save time and money. KraussMaffei can also shorten handover times and save costs because adjustments can be made faster and more economically at the plant, explains Feldmeier. 

In addition to the approvals that have already taken place, there are already quite a few new requests, according to Stefan Feldmeier. "The service is being well received." smartAssist offers customers the opportunity to experience the machine with the senses of the KraussMaffei expert, he said. "They see, hear and experience what our expert also perceives on site."