Schwan Cosmetics

Augmented Reality revolutionizes machine maintenance

Schwan Cosmetics has digitised the maintenance of its production facilities and relies on assisted reality in cooperation with T-Systems MMS. By using an application for the Microsoft HoloLens, users of the complex machines at various branches worldwide can now receive remote training and support from experts at the head office in the Franconian town of Heroldsberg.

Customer benefits

Machine downtimes are reduced, and delivery dates are adhered to (more) punctually

Travel times and costs of highly specialised experts are lowered

Improved communication quality and greater knowledge transfer between service technicians and experts

  • Requirements

    Complex machines worldwide

    The family business Schwan Cosmetics is the global market leader in manufacturing cosmetic pencils and produces for nearly all known brands. The company makes the necessary complex machines at its headquarters and operates them at various sites across the entire world.
    Since the machines are highly specialized, mechanical defects, product changes or routine maintenance work have required the support of experts from Germany. Previously, employees in Heroldsberg had to explain the individual steps to the machine operators or maintenance workers by phone or an email photo documentation. However, in some cases they could not avoid having to travel great distances to work on the case on site.
    For eight branches around the world, this process was hardly efficient, especially since the local repairs often required only a few steps in a short time. The company therefore searched for an alternative that would put less strain on the travel budget and could optimise the processes in line with the corporate digitisation strategy.

  • Solution

    I see something that you see too...

    Within Deutsche Telekom’s “5G / Low Latency” program, a pilot program was created for which the Telekom unit T-Systems MMS developed a proof of concept. The first user acceptance tests with the Microsoft HoloLens were followed by an innovative project during which a productive HoloLens assisted reality solution was developed for maintenance and repair tasks. Subsequently, an application for the Microsoft HoloLens was created together. This allows service experts from the Schwan Cosmetics headquarters to remotely support the operators and service technicians of production machines. In this process, the Schwan service expert is connected to the operator of the machine on site through a desktop app via HoloLens. Instructions can be transferred directly into the expert’s field of view, because whatever the operator sees is also seen by the expert. Comments or machine settings can also be shown in the operator’s field of view to prevent any misunderstanding arising from language or dialect barriers. The first successful remote sessions were already completed with the Schwan Cosmetics subsidiary in Tennessee (USA).
    Now the scope of services offered through the HoloLens assisted reality solution will be gradually refined. The current version already makes it possible to save screenshots or text comments so that the case video can be saved and logged. This could be developed into a knowledge database which can help solve future support cases faster. The AR solution, which will be rolled out at Schwan sites worldwide in the near future, can also be used for training purposes.

  • Benefits

    Less downtime, lower travel expenses – more use cases

    The assisted reality solution makes it possible to quickly and immediately test and remedy problems and disruptions. With this application, Schwan Cosmetics expects a significant reduction in maintenance costs and downtimes of the production machines. The travel times and costs for service technicians will also be reduced as a result. This also benefits the company’s delivery schedule adherence and thus the customers directly. Now Schwan Cosmetics holds the position of digital leader in its industry.

  • Alexander Sarkissian, Digital Initiative Manager at Schwan Cosmetics

    “With the help of the virtual glasses, our experts in Heroldsberg can look through the eyes of their colleagues abroad and assist them with maintenance or repairs in real time. Using the colleague’s glasses, the expert can see where the error lies and can guide the colleague at the machine through the necessary steps from their own workplace. This cuts costs and saves time: long plane trips to the subsidiaries are eliminated and in ideal cases, the machine’s downtime is reduced to a minimum.”

About Schwan Cosmetics

Schwan Cosmetics is the global market leader in the development and production of cosmetic pencils. Over 3,000 employees at eight production sites worldwide are contributing to the economic success. The global employer’s headquarters are in Heroldsberg near Nuremberg, and it is represented with ten subsidiaries in eight countries. The private label producer is a hundred-percent subsidiary of the internationally operating family business Schwan-STABILO.

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