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QUAH Beng Chieh

Head of Marketing – Asia Pacific

FARO Technologies

MODERNISATION Adopting technical assistance systems for Industry 4.0

Jun 11, 2019

…says QUAH Beng Chieh, Head of Marketing – Asia Pacific, FARO Technologies, in this interview with Juili Eklahare. He highlights how manufacturers can employ Augmented Reality software to conduct virtual inspections using CAD data and how they can expect to see tangible benefits of better quality and improved efficiency. Excerpts…

Would you say you’re in a strong market position right now in the 3D manufacturing business?

FARO develops and manufactures leading edge solutions that enable high-precision 3D capture, measurement, and analysis across a variety of industries. In 2004, we entered the Indian market with our first office in New Delhi, followed by a branch office in Chennai in 2011, and another in Pune in 2014, paving the way for our company to increase on-the ground support for our customers. To this day, India continues to be a key market for us. So, we’re confident that our portfolio of solutions can address Indian manufacturers’ wide range of measurement needs, giving us a strong position in the market.

What are the challenges of using technical assistance systems to boost efficiency in manufacturing processes?

In today’s manufacturing context, technical assistance refers to systems designed to aid operators in their role as decision-makers, typically offering either physical support on dangerous, strenuous tasks, or providing crucial information to enable better decision-making. As with any technology adoption, the challenges that manufacturers face are similar — existing methods or processes, the team’s attitude towards change, budget priorities, and proof of value. That said, adopting technical assistance systems is a relatively uncomplicated way for companies to embark on their Industry 4.0 journey and manufacturers can expect to see tangible benefits of better quality, improved efficiency, and cost-savings quite quickly.

Can you share your thoughts on the use of Augmented Reality?

Related to Augmented Reality, an application that tool and fixture manufacturers find particularly useful is virtual inspection. Often, in early phases of prototyping, companies would be developing tools, fixtures, or assemblies — where not all components of the whole are in place just yet. However, quality inspection early on in the process is necessary, in order to ensure that everything eventually fits in its allocated position. Otherwise, any changes that may be required in later stages can incur additional costs and cause delay with prototypes and pilot lots, likely pushing back production timelines for final inspection, approvals, and series production.

To circumvent that challenge, manufacturers can employ Augmented Reality software to conduct virtual inspections using CAD data. Advances in mixed reality technology have made it possible for an assembly, a tool, or part to be virtually examined in detail, even with an incomplete set-up. Through an overlay, the virtual object can be inserted into the software to see how it fits with the existing elements. This way, any difference between the actual and the intended targeted setup can be identified, documented, and fixed early on.

Where do your customers come from? Do they find you or do you go to them at trade shows?

Many of our customers first learn about us at trade exhibitions, but a good number of them also come across our solutions through their own research. Very often, we find that new prospects hear about us through word-of-mouth, where our existing customers were the ones who recommended our technologies to them.

Where do you see FARO Technologies in five years’ time?

Some of our most successful solutions were a result of the R&D team’s expertise, combined with our customers’ suggestions. I believe we’ll continue to put out relevant solutions that help customers complete their 3D measurement and documentation tasks more confidently, quickly, and easily.

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