June 30, 2020
Manufacturing Industry will Go Remote
Remote working has become the new norm due to the growing impact of COVID-19 and there is a growing trend in the manufacturing industry to utilize virtual reality (VR) and other remote technologies
AGC, the world's largest glass manufacturer in Japan, is expanding a method of having their customers evaluate glass prototypes through VR. AGC had partly been using this system to have VR devices check the design of a prototype that is reproduced more delicately on a computer.
The VR devices are brought by AGC to their clients. AGC's actual contact with clients is limited to when bringing in VR-related devices and help reduce a risk of contact with dozens of people. It also helps to improve work efficiency, reduce travel expenses, and is expected to be established even after the Corona convergence. In addition, AGC is now rushing to develop a tactile sensor that allows people to check the feel.
Education of engineers at overseas plants through VR is also under consideration, and AGC will accelerate the development of a system enabling remote guidance in an age of “With Corona”. There is also a movement to reassess the work performed by engineers on site.
There is a Hiroshima plant of Micron Memory Japan, which produces semiconductor memory. The new building, which is scheduled to start operation by the end of the year, is remotely implementing the installation work of software for core power equipment. This is because engineers from European software company were not able to come to Japan due to movement restrictions by Covid-19. Their remote work was the first attempt. The software company's dedicated terminals had been delivered into the factory and operated from Europe by enhancing the security of confidentiality. Originally, three engineers were scheduled to visit Japan for 1-2 months to carry out installation work. This has led to cost reductions such as business trip expenses. Such a remote working is planned to be widely adopted in the future, including hubs in the United States.