Improving Processes in the Food Industry: AR for Maintenance and Onboarding

Wartungsperson mit Schutzkleidung prüft über ein Smartphone mit Inspect AR-App eine Maschine in der Lebensmittelproduktion in der Nestlé-Fabrik Wangen

Nestlé is constantly improving production efficiency: with Inspect AR, labor is deployed more efficiently, as the factory in Wangen proves.

Nestlé optimizes processes using the Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) method. This entails establishing a production system that is as smooth as possible: An efficient distribution of tasks eliminates downtime or quality losses. As part of this, operating personnel are enabled to carry out maintenances directly on production machines.

Nestlé uses Inspect AR for this purpose. Using the app, the company can deploy workers more efficiently and train them more independently. The Nestlé factory in Wangen, where pizza and cake dough are produced for European markets, demonstrates the benefits.

AR in the Food Industry: Efficient Inspections

Roles are often clearly distributed in industrial settings. Operating and inspecting machines are typically separated from each other, as the know-how is not available to all employees. Personnel from the production, for example, know how to refill dough and clean the equipment, but they are unable to readily inspect the mechanical conveyor belts.

Nestlé uses Inspect AR to utilize its workforce more efficiently, as digital inspections can be carried out via app by all employees, including those on the production floor. The app guides inspection personnel to the proper inspection point directly on the production line using AR navigation. This ensures that the right components are inspected and that nothing is missed.

Visual instructions highlight what needs to be inspected at each inspection point on the production line. Operators simply document any errors or anomalies as a photo or video at the touch of a button. The app then automatically saves the inspection log and uploads it to a dashboard.

There, supervisors can always monitor inspection progress in real time, regardless of their location. This also increases the audit efficiency: the reports can be easily retrieved and further processed if required.

With visual and on-site guidance, as well as seamless digital documentation, even untrained personnel can perform inspections. In addition, this enriches their day-to-day work and generally increases their motivation.

Faster Onboarding, Better Training and More Effective Instructions

Inspect AR also simplifies onboarding and improves training or the instruction of apprentices: Instructional manuals and training material can also be stored in Inspect AR and linked directly to production equipment. Trainees get to know the plant on their own and regularly repeat what they have learned without the need for an instructor to be present. This helps them build up a routine more quickly.

Trainee in protective clothing and with a HoloLens 2 on his head is guided virtually by the Inspect AR app through the operation of a production machine
Inspect AR virtually guides the trainee via HoloLens 2. | Image: Augment IT / Nestlé

At the same time, users are free to choose whether they want to work with data headsets such as HoloLens 2 or with a smartphone or tablet.

In just a few minutes, employees can create new instructions in the app or via the browser by themselves. The intuitive user interface enables rapid incorporation of additional information (for instance about machine parts) as well as feedback (such as new insights into inspection processes). The resulting knowledge database can in turn be used for education and training.

AR in the Food Industry: These are the Benefits

  • Job enrichment: Precise instructions enable employees in production to carry out inspections independently.
  • Seamless documentation: Real-time synchronization of inspection reports in a web interface and automated log storage ensure the audit of inspection processes.
  • Runs on any device: Employees use smartphones and tablets, as well as data headsets. Smartphones are an ideal entry-level device as employee acceptance is high. With data headsets, the hands remain free, which allows seeing instructions and working on machines simultaneously.

Digitizing Production: Nestlé Continues to Innovate

Inspect AR is part of the daily workflow at Nestlé in Wangen: The well-rehearsed inspection process is received exceptionally well by the employees. In addition to time savings, lower error rates, and more flexibility in the distribution of tasks, the intuitive approach and ease of use of the app are also convincing, both during ongoing production and during training.

Inspect AR also scales across teams and devices: inspections on any of a company’s machines and vehicles are easily possible. Get in touch with us about your individual challenges, and we’ll work out a customized solution together. For more information on Inspect AR, visit our website and follow us for updates on LinkedIn.

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