The Value of Remote Services offered by Autolog
Posted on April 24, 2020
The Value of Remote Services offered by Autolog
In an ever changing workplace, technology has been offering us many options on how to provide service from a distance for a company like Autolog. With a worldwide pandemic (Covid 19) impacting so many face to face interactions and travel options, these technologies and strategies are more important than ever. Thankfully Autolog has extensive experience in helping customers from a distance.
It starts with our 24/7 service department staffed by our skilled service team. They are equipped with broad knowledge of all our products and can usually solve any challenge that our customers can throw their way. That is only part of the story as we are also staffed by array of specialists who have deep knowledge of our products and systems. In light of the current crisis though, it is important to highlight more than just service calls, we can also offer product demonstrations to customers anywhere in the world. By gathering log, cant or board samples from your current Autolog system, we are able to show you how changes and upgrades to your current Autolog system could impact your production in the future.
The example below is of our new GEN3 Canter Twin is displaying logs processed in Demonstration Mode. We can demonstrate processing logs in real time using log data we have gathered with a previous generation Autolog system and show you the benefit of the latest technology.
If you do not currently have an Autolog system, or your existing Autolog system is not compatible with our latest versions, we are able to provide Log, Cant or Board samples that are similar to your current fiber.
On top of demos, we can also provide you remote training on your existing system. This kind of training gives you the opportunity to split the training in several sessions (e.g. 8 trainings of 1 hour vs I session of 8 hours). This allows you to learn at your own speed and it is easier to fit into your tight schedule.
For many of our cutomers, service calls are still the most common way that you interact with Autolog from a distance. As a Process Expert who works in the field during start up and commissioning of Autolog’s equipment, I have experianced the benefit of face to face interactions with the customer and their products. Like a lot of my Autolog colleagues, I have also worked on various issues and challenges for our customers from the main office in Montreal or from my home. With all these experiences, I come to the conclusion there is rarely an instance were we cannot see a defect or problem remotely that is signifigantly different from being onsite. For example, the quality of the images that the ProGrader provides enables us to evaluate and measure a defect on a board as thouroughly as being onsite.
This example below shows the high resolution images available from the ProGrader.
What can you do as a customer to get the most out of your remote service experience? The answer is simple: be as thorough as you can in documenting your issue that you are experiencing. The time you will take to document the issue in your already full days, will be a good investment and will help us to understand and to solve the issue.
The main info we are looking for are listed below.
Pieces: If your issue is related to the solution found by the optimizer, please save few examples of these problematic pieces (log, cant, piece) into a simulation lot. Take note of the identification number of the piece and use a tape measure to indicate to us the position of the defect/problem on this piece. While physically saving a log is rarely possible, putting a board aside for future reference is well worth the time.
Time and date: Try and capture as close as possible the exact time that a log or board was processed. Further review may point to a system anomaly that may have caused an incorrect solution.
Photographs: Detailed photos are one of the keys in showing a defect or issue. Too many photos is rarely the problem. Take pictures as close as possible as well as some that show the bigger picture.
Video: Video is potentially a more powerful tool than photos. Cameras can be mounted to monitor production. The videos can be reviewed when an upset condition occurs. In addition to saving time for everyone (for example, you won’t have to stay all day long in front of the problematic zone), they allow us to view them at a slow speed. This ability to slow down the speed, allows us to detect small details hardly perceptible at normal production speed. Similar requirements for taking pictures are required for the videos (see photographs section above).
Frequency: If possible try and capture a sense of the frequency of the issue. If this cannot be observed, try and use the many reports that Autolog’s systems offer to show changes in grade outturn or trim volume, for example.
Parameters changes: Try to remember if you have changed parameters before this issue started to show up. These changes could provide us possible solutions to follow in our investigation.
Changes to the environment: In this case we are referring to the planer or sawmill environment where the Autolog system is. Has something changed around the scanner? Light pollution, like sunshine rays, can occur at a certain time of day and could be affecting the lasers. Was a system component changed out?
Reaction time: Once you have documented properly the issue, please inform the Autolog team of the issue. Don’t wait too long before submitting it. Keep in mind that some data (raw data, log files, etc) may be not stored forever on the computers in order to keep enough space on the hard drives of these computers. Without this info, it may be impossible for us to find the source of the issue.
In this current time we are forced to look for solutions that keep us all at a distance. The examples given in this Auto-blog are just a few examples that will allow you to maximize your customer experience with Autolog without one of us on site. These working methods, although perfectly suited to the current restrictions, will still be valid once the crisis has passed.
Shawn – Process Expert